Edibles with Ease: When to Get Growing from Seeds or from Starts? Read more »
In my side yard which is mostly shade, I have tried a variety of perennials that thrive in a woodland setting. Read more »
Make your garden even more welcoming to birds and butterflies: turn it into a certified wildlife habitat. Read more »
The StaySharp™ Max Reel Mower combines patent-pending technology with superior ergonomics to deliver best-in-class cutting perf... Read more »
Keep your lawn and your shoes clean and free of clippings by adding our innovative, sturdy Grass Catcher to your StaySharp™ Ree... Read more »
The Salsa Rain Barrel System makes it easy to collect up to 58 gallons of water for your garden and lawn. Our rain barrel is ma... Read more »
Make the most of National Craft Month by preparing some craft kits for your children - let them explore color, texture and dif... Read more »
This is the second how-to in a series focused on getting the most out of your basic paper punches. Read more »
Spring brings in the most wonderful colors and here is a fun way to add a touch of color to your gifts! Read more »
Our ProCision™ Rotary Bypass Trimmer features a unique dual-rail system that stabilizes the rotary blade, eliminating wiggle fo... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of crafting and mixed media tasks, our Amplify® Mixed Media Shears sense blade separation and force th... Read more »
Available online and at your local retailer May 2014 Add distinctive style to craft projects of all kinds with... Read more »
My idea is to show everyone that they can make something cute and fashionable without spending a lot of money. Read more »
Embellishing a plain shirt using a reverse appliqué technique is easy - and your kids will love their personalized outfit! Read more »
This year, it seems like spring is way overdue at our house. Read more »
Perfect for tight, precise cuts, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force the blades back togethe... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force t... Read more »
Perfect for users with larger hands or anyone who needs to make long cuts through multiple layers, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabr... Read more »
I always look forward to school being out for the summer (more so than my children, probably!) and the change of pace means we... Read more »
This fun project is a great way to send a little love note to your child. These lunchbox notes can be slipped into a backpack... Read more »
Here is a fun craft for St. Patrick’s Day that is not only adorable, it makes kids stop and think about how lucky they are. Read more »
Children love our Blunt-tip Kids Scissors for the handle that’s shiny, bright and smooth, not “sticky” or “bumpy.” Teachers and... Read more »
Our Big Kids Scissors take the basic design of our teacher-recommended Kids Scissors and enlarge them for kids that are a littl... Read more »
Our Student Scissors are larger than our Kids Scissors but smaller than adult scissors, perfect for those older children who ar... Read more »
Introduced to the world as a quality fabric scissors, the Original Orange-Handled Scissors redefined the standard for cutting p... Read more »
The first time you try our PowerGear® Super Pruner/Lopper, you’ll be amazed — but it’s not magic, it’s gears. Our patented gear... Read more »
Our Comfort Loop Rotary Cutter with a 45 mm blade makes cutting a wide variety of quilting materials comfortable and easy. A cu... Read more »
Fall is composting season. Autumn leaves are the main ingredient in my backyard compost pile, and mature trees in my yard (and around the neighborhood) supply plenty of material for the rich, loamy compost with which I enrich the soil in my garden beds. No matter where you live or what you grow, a wheelbarrow full of crumbly brown compost, cool and moist, is a powerful gardening tool. When you work a shovelful of it into the soil, it improves the soil's structure, adds nutrients and enhances drainage.
Some people are very particular about making compost, but it’s an easy process. For a basic compost heap, all you need is a bare spot about three feet square. You can make it in a special container, or just pile your raw materials up right on top of the soil.
Start with a mix of autumn leaves and grass clippings. The leaves (which supply carbon) and grass clippings (which supply nitrogen) generate heat as they decompose into a rich, organic loam. The leaves and the grass should be well mixed, and a good way to do this is to mow the autumn leaves right on the lawn — with the bagger on the mower — chopping the leaves up and cutting the grass at the same time. The ratio of leaves to grass clippings in a lawnmower bagger changes with the season: there will be more green (the grass) in early fall, and more brown (the leaves) in late fall. Empty the bagger directly onto the heap, and walk away.
Carbon, nitrogen, air, and moisture are all you need to make compost. A fluffy mix of leaves and grass already contains air pockets and moisture. Leaves and grass alone will suffice, but vegetable scraps from the kitchen — broccoli stems, apple cores, potato skins, banana peels, tea bags, coffee grounds, and eggshells — give the bacteria in the heap even more to work with.
My husband and I keep a garden fork by our heap to toss leaves over the kitchen scraps, so they’re always buried in the pile. Decomposition goes faster if the individual pieces are small, but just about everything breaks down in time. Recognizing a peach pit in finished compost will remind you of the pleasures of summer, and will certainly not lead to a weedy invasion of peach trees in your flower beds.
One of my neighbors makes his compost in a classic three-bin system, with one bin for fresh ingredients, one for partly decomposed compost, and the third for finished compost, ready to use. It speeds things up if you turn the compost by moving it from one bin to the next after a month or so, but my husband and I make our compost without bins at all — we have one pile for “working” compost and one for “finished” compost. The process takes about a year. You can make compost faster if you are prepared to turn your heap frequently. The addition of fresh grass Download PDF Composting 101 Booklet will cause the heap to heat up to as much as 130 degrees and will speed decomposition. We allow our compost to take its time, and find that when the compost is ready, we are, too. We especially like to put in a shovelful every time we plant something: we’re amending and improving the soil in our garden, one hole at a time.