I hope you all enjoyed a restful break week.
Thank you to those of you who submitted your Week 2 assignments. It seems that most of you had success with the home soil test exercises. Remember that soil management practices take time -sometimes several years -to improve soil. There are also situations where the soil can’t be altered to meet your desired needs and you have to adjust the type of plants you’d like to grow or build raised beds to fill with more appropriate soil.
This week you will learn about some important techniques like crop rotation, season extension and plant partners, and you will use apply these techniques when figuring out your draft planting design for this year's garden.
Please remember to read new posts and contribute to the Student Discussion Forum. I see that we have a mix of new and experienced composters in the group. Thank you for sharing your ideas and questions - I'll answer a few questions that came up.
For collecting compost scraps in the kitchen, I recommend a stainless steel or ceramic bin with a snug-fitting lid that can hold a charcoal filter. In my experience a plastic bin absorbs the odor after a while, but steel and ceramic bins do not. They are a little pricier but worth it because they don't smell and are very easy to clean.
To keep rodents out of compost bins, line the sides with plant materials they don't eat, like leaves, hay, straw, plant stalks, grass clippings etc. and also cover any food scraps well with these materials. If you live in an area with lots of fall leaves and cold winters, stockpile some dry leaves in bags or bins that you can use to cover food scraps in winter. If rodents are a serious problem in your area, there are bins that are completely enclosed so they can't get in. Or you can just compost grass clippings, fall leaves and vegetable plant residues that won't attract rodents, and send your food scraps to a municipal compost program or give them to a friend who composts.
Week 3: Organic Gardening Techniques and Draft Design