Henrico County VA

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.
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HandsOn Day set for Oct. 17

HandsOn Day 2015, which will feature 1200 volunteers serving more than 65 nonprofits in Greater Richmond, will take place Oct. 17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Among the projects in Henrico or surrounding communities that need volunteers are: installing GardenFest lights Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, distribution center assistance at Feedmore, pumpkin carving with residents at SupportOne, work and play at Housing Families First, paint for independence at Heart Havens, spruce up the shelter and clean sweep at Harbor House at Safe Harbor, pinwheel project at REAP and Kidney Walk prep at National Kidney Foundation Serving VA. > Read more.

Online tool helps identify best native plants for pollinators

Virginians who want to plant beneficial plants for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds have a new resource at their fingertips. The online Virginia Native Plant Finder now lets users search for native plant species that benefit pollinators. The tool, which is managed by the Virginia Natural Heritage Program, is free and easy to use; searches can be completed on desktops, tablets or smartphones.

Native plants are those that grow where they evolved; they have traits that enable them to adapt to local conditions. The Virginia Native Plant Finder lets users create their own custom native plant lists by selecting from dropdown menus. > Read more.

The Volunteers of the United States Army Field Band to perform Oct. 15

Henrico County Recreation and Parks is hosting a concert by The Volunteers of the United States Army Field Band on Thursday, Oct. 15 at Henrico Theatre, 305 East Nine Mile Road in Highland Springs. This free concert will be held at 7 p.m. and will feature Soldier-Musicians from the U.S. Army Field Band.

Since its inception in 1981, The Volunteers has been telling the Army story through rock, pop, country, and patriotic music. Its members have performed for millions of listeners in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, Kuwait, and Iraq. This group tours more than 100 days each year, bringing a powerful message of patriotism and support to communities large and small. > Read more.


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