It’s not exactly how I’d planned to spend my birthday morning, yet there I was, sitting in a composting class at Clark Gardens recently, learning how to use my fancy new composter.
My husband gets the credit – or blame – for this. He is the one who always insisted that we purchase recycled paper plates and toilet paper (sounds worse than it is), and environmentally-friendly cleaning supplies. He is the one who will look at my garbage can with an eagle eye and say “Shouldn’t this empty pasta box be in the paper waste – hmmm???”
So, naturally, he’s been interested in the idea of composting for some time. But I had repeatedly talked him out of composters because of the high price – they can run $200 – and the alternative, a compost heap, didn’t appeal to my sense of aesthetics for my little backyard.
And then my mother, also a local, discovered that the runs a program for residents – by calling 311, residents of North Hempstead could get a brand new composter for $50, a considerable savings.
The catch? You can’t get the composter unless you attend “composting class” given at Clark Botanic Gardens in Albertson. My parents were extremely excited about this program, (my mom might actually be described as “gleeful”) and immediately called to sign up. My husband wanted to sign up as well, but as he’s got a regular job in the city, and I have a more flexible schedule, it was clear that I was going to be the one attending composting class.
So, after calling 311 and registering for the class, and with our $50 checks in hand, my parents and I found ourselves on a Tuesday morning sitting on folding chairs in a corner of Clark Gardens getting a composting demonstration. Interestingly, the only other attendee at this class was also from Port Washington – what does this say about our town?
A Clark Gardens employee – decked out in a big hat and what looked like a leather holster with gardening shears – showed us the ins and outs of the composter. She explained what goes in (vegetable and fruit scraps, pits, leaves, grass clippings, newspapers, and, apparently, chicken droppings) and what doesn’t (glossy magazines, anything that’s been chemically treated, leftover foods with sauces, and dog or cat droppings). After an hour of instruction, we drove the car around back, and managed to wedge the two composters into the back seat, with me squeezed in like a passenger in the middle seat of a cheap commercial airline.
My parents immediately began composting, but I’m still looking for the right spot for my composter. However, I’ve already collected a ton of vegetable peels, fruit pits, and the like, and am very excited to get started.
If you too would like to improve your soil, recycle your waste, and improve our environment, consider calling 311 and asking about the composting program. Information can also be found on the Town of North Hempstead website