Henrico County VA
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In the garden

Recycling and composting
Ever feel guilty about throwing all those plastic garden pots in the trash can? Well, here’s good news. Now you can recycle them.

A number of local garden centers are participating in a plastic pot recycling program that enables gardeners to get rid of those pots without adding to the local landfill.

“The project was intended to help people responsibly get rid of their pots by recycling,” said Dr. Joyce Latimer, an Extension Specialist at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Dr. Latimer coordinates the program that began in Henrico in 2010 and was taken state-wide last year.

“It’s still a small effort,” said Dr. Latimer, “but both years, we've filled an entire tractor trailer.”

Proceeds from the sale of the recycled pots help fund the state Master Gardener Coordinator position at Virginia Tech, and by serving as collection points garden centers and growers find that many of their customers make repeat visits to their businesses.

The program only accepts horticultural plastics, which include cell packs, trays, pots, and hanging baskets. Pots should be empty of soil, and metal hangers should be removed before the pot is recycled.

Look for the resin code on the bottom of the pot. The primary plastics used for garden and nursery containers are No. 2, No. 5 or No. 6. Biodegradable pots and pots made from organic materials are not eligible for the program, and no household plastics are accepted.

Nest pots as tightly as possible, and group them by resin codes before recycling.

A list of participating garden centers is available at http://www.hort.vt.edu/vagardenersrecycle The l.ocal garden centers participating in the program include Strange’s Garden Centers on West Broad Street and Mechanicsville Pike, Cross Creek Nursery & Landscaping on Courthouse Road, and Shipp & Wilson on Turkey Hill Trail in Mechanicsville.

And while we’re on the subject of recycling, remember to add compost as you’re preparing and planting your garden this spring.

Compost improves soil structure, enabling sandy soils to hold more water and clay soils to drain faster. While it isn’t considered a fertilizer, compost does contain some micronutrients beneficial to plant health, and it helps the soil hold nutrients, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers.

You can spread compost about two inches deep over your entire garden before tilling. More than two inches applied at one time can encourage grubs in your garden.

Or, if you have a limited supply of compost, use it with your transplants. Mix compost into the backfill before you replace it in the hole you dig for your plants. It will loosen the soil and promote better root growth.

You can purchase compost. If you do, make sure you get it from a reliable source so that it is not filled with weed seeds or organisms that can spread diseases in your garden.

You can also make your own compost from kitchen and yard wastes. Starting now will produce compost that can be used late this fall or next spring. To learn more, read Making Compost from Yard Wastes at http://www.ext.vt.edu or call the Henrico Master Gardener Helpline at 501-5160.
Community

Lions Club donates backpacks to elementary school

The Richmond West Breakfast Lions Club (based in western Henrico) recently donated 59 backpacks to the Westover Hills Elementary School on Jahnke Road.

Above, club members display some of the backpacks prior to their distribution. > Read more.

Glen Allen student to perform at Carnegie Hall

Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.

At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.

Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.

Gayton Baptist Church dedicates new outreach center


The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.

Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.

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Entertainment

The Boathouse to open at Short Pump Town Center

The Boathouse restaurant will open at Short Pump Town Center in the spring, its third location in the region.

“People have asked us to come to the West End for years,” said owner Kevin Healy. “When the opportunity arose, we knew had to jump on it.”

The new restaurant will be located in a 5,800-square-foot space under the Hyatt House Hotel at the town center and will include a large outdoor patio. > Read more.

Getting a ‘mouf’-ful

Boka Kantina exceeds its strong food truck reputation
Already a fan of Boka fare from outdoor events with the Tako Truck, I was delighted to learn of the new restaurant, and eager to see if its reputation held up after putting down brick-and-mortar roots.

Would the food lose its zest if I wasn’t enjoying it in the great outdoors? Would it seem pedestrian served from an ordinary kitchen instead of a truck?

Would the tacos be less satisfying as an antidote to normal lunch hunger – instead of being ingested to stave off desperate hunger after a long afternoon of crowds, sun, and tedious lines? > Read more.

Lakeside microbrewery beginning to take shape

Original Gravity gets the green light to move forward with relocation, expansion into larger space

A Lakeside home-brewing shop has felt the gravitational pull toward the booming craft beer scene.

Original Gravity, a shop that sells beer and wine kits for homebrewers, has just been given the green light to start work on a microbrewery.

Owner Tony Ammendolia is expanding his 1,000-square-foot shop in Lakeside Town Center to 5,000-square-foot digs a few doors down to add a brewery and expand his supplies.

Ammendolia opened the home-brew supply store in November 2011 and since then he said business has taken off.

“I think I outgrew this place in the first year,” Ammendolia said. “We’ve seen steady growth and I’ve been looking for a place to expand to move the shop to get more square footage.” > Read more.

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