Composting done the right way

Composting done the right way

If you have a yard or garden, you know that grass clippings, leaves, dead plants, tree branches and shrub trimmings can add up fast–especially in late summer. An alternative to having it hauled away is to turn all the organic waste into compost. lawn care | garden care

At first glance, a compost pile may look like a big pile of dead leaves, old plants and grass clippings. Inside, though, there’s a bit of backyard science taking place. Microorganisms are eating away at that pile of yard waste and turning it into compost. Compost is really a nutrient-rich soil amendment, much like a fertilizer, that helps vegetables, flowers, lawns and potted plants grow healthier and stronger.

The process of composting is a natural occurrence that happens all around us–it ‘s nature’s way of recycling organic material. When a leaf or tree limb falls in the woods, it eventually decays and turns to compost and acts as a natural fertilizer that encourages new growth. This process can takes years.

When you compost at home, you speed up the process. With a little planning, you can produce usable compost in as little as three weeks. And, despite what people think, a properly maintained compost system doesn’t create any unpleasant odors.

The first thing to know about composting is what can and can’t be composted. The simple answer is–any plant material that was once alive can be composted:

fallen leaves
grass and lawn clippings
old fruits and vegetables
annual weeds before they seed
remains of garden plants
woodchips and sawdust
fruit and vegetable peels and scraps
tea bags
coffee grounds

Do not compost the following materials:

painted or chemically treated wood
diseased plants
annual weeds that have gone to seed
roots of perennial weeds
human and pet waste, including litter
meat scraps
fatty foods
milk products

While home composting is becoming more popular, a growing number of cities and municipalities are also realizing the benefits of composting. Many now operate large-scale composting facilities to help cut down on the growing amount of material going into landfills. The process is similar to a home composting system, but on a larger scale.

It takes about three to four months, a controlled combination of moisture, air, microorganisms and temperatures reaching up to 160 degrees F to turn yard waste into compost. Some of the finished compost is sold to landscaping companies, some is used in sanitary landfills and the rest is given away to gardeners.
Taking good care of your lawn
On a smaller scale, starting your own home composting system is pretty easy. You can either buy a commercial composting bin or build one yourself. The choice really depends on how much material you have to recycle and how fast you want to make finished compost.

Freestanding compost piles are the simplest system. If you don’t have a lot of material and you’re not in a hurry, this is the one for you. Just start piling on the yard debris and food scraps and let nature do the rest. Be patient: this form of passive composting can take up to two years to make finished compost.

Enclosed one-bin systems make compost more quickly and require a little more maintenance. It’s a great way to get started with composting. You can buy several types of bins at nurseries, hardware stores, home improvement centers, garden catalogs or on the Internet:

A hoop-type composter is just a piece of plastic with lots of holes in it. Fill it with waste materials and mix, or turn, the contents every week or two with a pitchfork or shovel. You can have finished compost in 3 to 4 months.
A square plastic bin is a fancier unit with vents in the side for aeration and small openings for easy removal of the finished compost. These units cost anywhere from $150 to $200.
A compost tumbler is more user-friendly than a bin that sits on the ground. Fill it with waste materials and rather than turning it, just rotate the bin to mix and aerate. This system costs about $150 to $200 and creates compost in about 3 to 4 weeks.
If you don’t want to purchase a compost bin, you can make one out of wire, wood , concrete blocks or even a plastic garbage can with holes drilled into it.lawn care
Four wooden pallets can be used to contain a compost pile. To make turning the pile and removing the finished compost easier, hinge the front pallet so it swings open. A note: when using wood, avoid using treated lumber because it may contain toxic chemicals that could leach into the compost.
A wire bin is made by making a circle with garden stakes that measures 3 to 4 feet in diameter. Wrap wire fencing around the stakes, attaching it securely with cable ties.
A one-bin unit is great for making a single batch of compost every few months. If you have a lot of yard and garden waste and want to produce a steadier supply of compost throughout the growing season, a single bin probably won’t be enough. You may have to graduate to a multi-bin system to recycle the material that your yard produces.

An important part of lifetime planning is the Power of Attorney.

An important part of lifetime planning is the Power of Attorney.

by: Jeffrey Broobin

An important part of lifetime planning is the Power of Attorney. Valid in all states, these documents give one or more persons the power to act on your behalf. The power may be limited to a particular activity (e.g., closing the sale of your home) or general in its application, empowering one or more persons to act on your behalf in a variety of situations. It may take effective immediately or only upon the occurrence of a future event (e.g., a determination that you are unable to act for yourself). The latter are “springing” Powers of Attorney. It may give temporary or continuous, permanent authority to act on your behalf. A power of attorney may be revoked, but most states require written notice of revocation to the person named to act for you. wills - probate law
The person named in a Power of Attorney to act on your behalf is commonly referred to as your “agent” or “attorney-in-fact.” With a valid Power of Attorney, your agent can take any action permitted in the document. Often your agent must present the actual document to invoke the power. For example, if another person is acting on your behalf to sell an automobile, the motor vehicles department generally will require that the Power of Attorney be presented before your agent’s authority to sign the title will be honored. Similarly, an agent who signs documents to buy or sell real property on your behalf must present the Power of Attorney to the title company. The same applies to sale of securities or opening and closing bank accounts. However, your agent generally should not need to present the Power of Attorney when signing checks for you.

Why would anyone give such sweeping authority to another person? One answer is convenience. If you are buying or selling assets and do not wish to appear in person to close the transaction, you may take advantage of a Power of Attorney. Another important reason to use Powers of Attorney is to prepare for situations when you may not be able to act on your own behalf due to absence or incapacity. Such a disability may be temporary (e.g., due to travel, accident, or illness) or it may be permanent.

If you do not have a Power of Attorney and become unable to manage your personal or business affairs, it may become necessary for a court to appoint one or more people to act for you. People appointed in this manner are referred to as guardians, conservators, or committees, depending upon your local state law. If a court proceeding, sometimes known as intervention, is needed, than you may not have the ability to choose the person who will act for you. With A Power of Attorney, you choose who will act and define their authority and its limits, if any.

What if I move? Generally, a Power of Attorney that is valid when you sign it will remain valid even if you change your state of residence. Although it should not be necessary to sign a new Power of Attorney merely because you have moved to a new state, it is a good idea to take the opportunity to update your Power of Attorney.

Will my Power of Attorney expire? Some states used to require renewal of Powers of Attorney for continuing validity. Today, most states permit a “durable” Power of Attorney that remains valid once signed until you die or revoke the document. However, you should periodically meet with your lawyer to revisit a Power of Attorney and consider whether your choice of agent still meets your needs and learn whether developments in state law affect your Power of Attorney. Probate attorney

The opinions, statements and information contained and expressed in the foregoing article are solely those of the author. No position for or against, agreeing with or disagreeing with anything contained in said article is taken by US Attorneys We do not assume or accept any liability for the use of the information contained herein. This article is published solely as a service to attorneys, lawyers and the internet community. Anyone who does not accept this disclaimer is not authorised to read or use this article in any way.