Allie’s Garden, Composting and More Earth News

Allie’s Garden has a new sign! Wendy Stasolla and Roy Vogel collaborated on the project, with Roy providing yet another memento of fine woodworking. Thank you both!

Three years of Covid haven’t stopped Allie’s Garden from flourishing and the Earth Ministry (EM) is grateful to Al Johnson, who undertakes the garden planning and the planting each year. This season, twenty-nine of the thirty beds have been planted in approximately equal amounts of sweet potatoes, butternut squash and carrots.

Al uses a “no till” method of planting, which means that the soil is not turned over or hoed before planting. The previous season’s cover crop is simply knocked down and covered for a few days with material (in this case, clear plastic) to kill the cover crop and weeds. Not tilling or hoeing and leaving the dead cover crop roots in the soil leaves the soil very soft and friable with good water holding capacity. This agricultural practice also preserves much of the carbon in the soil. By contrast, tillage speeds the decomposition process, sending more soil carbon back into the atmosphere as CO2. More CO2 adds to climate change concerns.

EM members and others help to weed the garden and water as needed. Al is hoping for a bountiful harvest which will be delivered to the Trenton Soup Kitchen as happened last year. Depending on this year’s bounty, there may be some squash for Homefront Thanksgiving pies.

Composting at UUCWC

Right next to the fence surrounding Allie’s Garden, we have a large compost bin that provides wonderfully nutrient rich, dark, decomposed organic matter that is added to the soil, making it better. The dark, humus-like end product starts with vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grounds, yard waste (grass and plant clippings, dry leaves, wood chips, straw) and other organic matter. This year’s material and the natural process of decay will provide rich, dark, crumbly compost for next year’s garden. The soil is enriched, helping it to retain moisture and ward off plant diseases and pests. Composting also reduces/eliminates the need for fertilizers.

UUCWC members who do not have access to or the ability to compost at home are invited to bring a bag of compost to church and deposit it in the bin. No animal or dairy products, oil or grease are permitted in the compost bin. Egg shells that are washed, dried and crushed are permissible. Tea bags are fine but the staples that are found in some labels must be removed. Plastic bags, wraps or containers are not permitted.

EM contributed funds to rent receptacles for the disposal of the compostable tableware and cutlery used for Caryl Tipton’s retirement party in early July. Most of the trash generated at the party went to a facility that composts. Geri Koblis prepared an information board that was stationed on the grounds outlining the process and benefits of composting, and EM members made sure attendees visited the “compost receptacles.” Many who attended the celebration shared their appreciation of EM’s efforts to practice sustainability.

New Recycling Bins Coming

EM was awarded an Endowment Grant this year that will facilitate the purchase of bins from TerraCycle for specific items that are not accepted in the regular recycling stream. More information on this program will follow next month.