Volume XXVIII Number 1 Page 1 Home composting is an excellent way to recycle many organic materials commonly found around the home. By composting, we convert what’s often called waste into a valuable, useful product.With a little time and effort, thousands of conservation-minded people are making compost from coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable trimmings, leaves, grass clippings and brush trimmings.They can then apply this compost to the landscape or garden. This improves the soil’s structure, enhances its fertility and provides nutrients that help plants grow better and produce more.So many benefitsHome composting is a win-win proposition for homeowners, landscape and garden plants and the environment.The amount of compost a vegetable garden needs depends mainly on the soil type and how you garden. But usually, it’s best to add 20 to 30 pounds of compost per 100 square feet of garden area each year.These amounts don’t cause a problem for people with small gardens. However, many gardeners with larger gardens find they can’t produce enough compost from their kitchen and yard waste.Need more?If you’re not making enough compost, what can you do?First, keep on composting. And keep on applying the compost to your garden, even if you can’t apply the full recommended rate. When it comes to compost in the garden, a good rule-of-thumb is that some is much better than none.NeighborsIf your neighbors aren’t composting, they may be happy to donate their kitchen and yard waste to your composting project. With that extra organic matter, you might be able to double or triple the amount of compost you can make. This may be all the compost you need.If you still don’t have enough, it’s probably time to consider supplementing your homemade compost with some made by someone else.Other resourcesOne possible source is a local municipality. Many cities and counties now compost organic materials collected locally and make the compost available at little or no cost to local citizens.Since they don’t usually deliver the compost, you’ll need a pickup truck or trailer to transport it. You can find out whether local municipal compost is available by contacting the county or city government or your University of Georgia Extension Service county office.Another possible source is a commercial composter. And there may be one near you. With the proper training and equipment, a professional composter can provide excellent compost at a reasonable price.As an added benefit, some of them will deliver compost to you. If you’re interested in getting commercial compost and don’t know a local source, your Georgia Extension Service county office may be able to help.(Darbie Granberry is an extension horticulturist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.) By Darbie M. GranberryUniversity of Georgia
I never thought I’d be saying this, but I’d like to commend Bud Selig for taking a stand on MLB steroid use. Sure, it came a decade or two late, and it may never have happened without the House of Representatives breathing down his back, but the commissioner has finally made a meaningful proposal.Perhaps tired of watching the national pastime evolve into a high-priced science fair, or perhaps just tired of being ridiculed by everyone from college sports desks to the U.S. Congress, Selig is finally putting his foot down.The commissioner has proposed a radical new steroid plan that would include a 50-game suspension for the first positive test, a 100-game suspension for the second offense and a lifetime ban from baseball for three positive tests. The new proposal would also call for an independent testing body and include testing for amphetamines, which some baseball insiders have suggested are far more prevalent than steroids in MLB clubhouses.Selig’s proposal would revolutionize the MLB steroid policy, which currently calls for a laughable 10-day suspension for the first positive test, which increases to a trivial 30 days for a second offense and 60 days for a third. The current policy does not call for a yearlong suspension until the fourth positive test and never requires a lifetime ban (after five tests, a player is subject to discipline at the commissioner’s discretion).Last season, Selig finally abandoned the “see no evil” approach after years of denying the painfully obvious. Thanks to Congressional pressure, the commissioner has moved on from symbolic baby steps. Now, the sports world will find out just how dedicated players’ union head Donald Fehr is to destroying our national pastime.If the union agrees to Selig’s proposal, baseball will finally have a meaningful steroid policy. Granted, the proposed policy is nowhere near what MLB really needs — Selig’s proposal falls well short of the Olympic standard, which calls for a two-year ban after the first positive test and a lifetime ban for two-time offenders — but it’s a major step in the right direction. Of course, the union has to agree.The ball is now in Fehr’s court, which is probably the worst place it could possibly end up. Fehr has spent years defending the players’ right to use steroids, and don’t expect him to stop now.Fehr may have signed off on Selig’s last proposal in the face of tremendous public and congressional pressure, but that was nothing more than a meaningless gesture aimed at convincing fans and politicians that MLB officials actually have some interest in preserving the game’s integrity. This time, Fehr is faced with a policy that actually means something. Let the backpedaling begin.Fehr has already begun to barricade himself against Selig’s proposal. He has agreed to discuss it, but he has made it perfectly clear that he wants to do no more than that.In a letter responding to Selig’s proposal, Fehr did not sound like someone who wanted to revolutionize the MLB steroid policy. He sounded a lot more like, well, Donald Fehr.“I am not aware of anything relating to the operation of our program this year which suggests that it is not working,” Fehr wrote in his letter to the commissioner. “Nor have you so asserted. Notwithstanding that, however, you now request that we further modify our agreement.”Perhaps Mr. Fehr is not aware that half a dozen players have already tested positive for steroids this season, and it’s only been a month since opening day. Some might consider that an indication that the current program needs a little work.But Donald Fehr is not like most people. Fehr is pleased with the current system because the current system allows his union members to use steroids and risk nothing more than a 10-day vacation. Fehr is willing to talk, but he wants no part of a real steroid policy.However, Fehr will not be able to simply brush this off. The continued threat of congressional intervention forces the players’ union to listen to what Selig has to say. These days, the union needs a better excuse than “the players don’t like being tested.”Fehr has made it clear that he will not sign a meaningful steroid policy unless John McCain personally drags his hand across the page. The thing is, McCain may just be willing to do it.Fehr and company can’t defend the current policy forever. Public outcry is mounting. Congress is on the case. The president mentioned steroids in his State of the Union address. Denial is no longer an option.Fehr can draw this out as long as he wants, but eventually he’ll have to give in. If baseball doesn’t change its policy, Congress will do it for them. Either way, a decent policy should be on the way. For the first time in years, there just might be a reason to be optimistic about the integrity of our national pastime.