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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Got Compost: Foodscraps ► Compost - Santa Barbara Successfully...

Got Compost: Foodscraps ► Compost - Santa Barbara Successfully...: "On Saturday morning, Nov. 14, the City of Santa Barbara welcomed home a load of dark brown, nutrient rich compost – demonstrating the succes..."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Got Compost: Foodscraps ► Compost - Santa Barbara Successfully...

Got Compost: Foodscraps ► Compost - Santa Barbara Successfully...: "On Saturday morning, Nov. 14, the City of Santa Barbara welcomed home a load of dark brown, nutrient rich compost – demonstrating the succe..."

Foodscraps ► Compost - Santa Barbara Successfully Completing the Cycle!

On Saturday morning, Nov. 14, the City of Santa Barbara welcomed home a load of dark brown, nutrient rich compost – demonstrating the success of the city’s Foodscraps Composting Program. We say “welcomed home” because the ingredients began their journey in Santa Barbara, where they were collected by Engel & Gray, Inc. and recycled into compost @ their Regional Compost Facility in Santa Maria. Santa Barbara Environmental Services hosted this celebration in honor of the program’s one year anniversary, and the donated compost was there to illustrate the end product of the participants’ recycling efforts.
Photo: SB resident having bucket filled with Harvest Blend Compost, donated by Engel & Gray, Inc.

Who participated?
114 local businesses and 21 schools (8000 students) have contributed the success of this program, separating their food scraps for composting. In the last year Santa Barbara has diverted over 3.5 million pounds of waste from the landfill. Many of us think of food waste as just that -waste. But these vegetable culls, meat trimmings, coffee grounds, etc., are really a valuable resource - a vital component in compost.

During the past year Engel & Gray has collected and transported Santa Barbara's foodscraps to the Regional Compost Facility in Santa Maria. After blending the food waste with additional organic materials (feedstocks) it’s placed in piles, called windrows. The piles are carefully monitoring, insuring a quality product, and in a matter of months the raw organic materials are transformed into quality Harvest Blend Compost. Adding compost to soil will increase soil’s microbial activity and water holding capacity, improve oxygenation, create a healthy root system, bind and degrade harmful chemicals and destroy pathogens.

The ultimate in recycling: when we put compost, made from 100% recycled organics, back into the ground - we’re putting previously discarded materials back to work. Think about it. Instead of allowing these food scraps and other compostable materials to rot in our landfills, transformed into compost they’re put to great use: on lawns as top dressing, in the soil as an amendment, in flower and vegetable gardens, for planting trees and shrubs, and as an environmentally responsible erosion control solution.

While some folks were familiar with compost, Saturday’s event allowed others to discover its many uses and benefits. Residents were asked to B.Y.O.B – bring your own bucket – and fill ‘er up with the donated compost. Santa Barbara has always been beautiful, but adding Harvest Blend Compost to its soil can only make the surroundings more vibrant. Naturally!
Way to go, Santa Barbara! Thanks for being great “sorts”!

For more info on compost, its uses and benefits, visit

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

BEE CAREFUL! Use Compost, Forget the Chemicals

There was an article in our local paper today, shedding some light on the recent problem of vanishing honeybees. This post is dedicated to the hardworking, yet feared and misunderstood, honeybee. Without them, where would we bee? (sorry for the pun)

Recently we began hearing the buzz about honey bees, mysteriously vanishing from their hives. Only the queen bee and a few baby bees were left behind. The odd thing is there were no signs of the usual predators, like wasps, bears and other honey-loving animals. There have also been no signs of bee diseases or mites (they attack full grown bees). In the past, this phenomenon has happened when bees have died of chemical contamination. The concern now is that this is taking place on a large scale.

Why Should Disappearing Bees Cause Concern?
Most of us run screaming when we spot a bee heading our way, but the part they play in our ecosystem should earn them some respect. Since honeybees are the most important insect for the human food chain, so their disappearance would be a tragic loss. The reason being, the honeybee is the main pollinator of hundreds of types of food crops, nuts, flowers, vegetables and fruits. Recent articles suggest that this kind of disturbance in our food chain could result in widespread food shortages. Yikes!

Colony Collapse Disorder
...or CCD, is the title given to the disappearance of bees, and it’s a phenomenon that is very real. As far as scientists are concerned, it’s possible that CCD could impact honey and food production in a big way. Many scientists feel…

Bees Could be Disappearing due to Pesticide use Many think that the growing use of chemical herbicides and pesticides, which are ingested by bees when they make their daily pollination rounds, are a likely reason. Commercial beehives are also fumigated regularly with chemicals to get rid of harmful mites. Genetically modified crops, which could be producing pollen with poor nutritional value, is another suspect thought to be responsible for bees disappearing.

Use Compost Instead of Chemical Fertilizers
Compost is natural. Amending soil with STA approved compost conditions and heals the soil. Binding and degrading harmful toxins so they are no longer a danger means that plants grown in this soil won’t need chemical fertilizers, lessening the danger of bees collecting contaminated pollen. Of course, we need to be careful when using pesticides. There are natural alternatives out there, so we need to be careful when trying to get rid of pests. When it comes to using herbicides on your lawn, there are really no safe alternatives. Your best bet is to top dress your lawn with Harvest Blend Compost twice a year, insuring the healthiest foundation for a healthy, green lawn.

Ladybugs are a natural enemy of many garden pests, so attracting them to your yard will be very beneficial. Ladybug tips:
Want more ladybugs in your garden? Plant plants with pollen or nectar, such as dill, calendula, Queen Anne’s lace, fennel or cock’s comb.

Ladybug larvae are very aggressive against many garden pests. Be sure to learn to identify what they look like so you don’t accidentally kill them thinking they are problem pests.

The next time you spot a busy bee buzzing about its business, stop and marvel at this little creature, thanking it for the great job it does – because if this trend of disappearing bees continues, we may not see them around anymore.

For more info on the natural solution for problem soils, visit If we can bee of help, don’t hesitate to call or email.