Each year, Earth Day reminds us of the impact our day-to-day living has upon the environment. Hopefully, those of you who attended the ninth annual Earth Day Festival, hosted by the Greater Severna Park Watershed Action Group at Severna Park Middle School, came away from the event with a desire to help reduce pollution around your homes and neighborhoods.
A number of people took advantage of the opportunity to purchase rain barrels and composters at our local Earth Day event. Both products offer homeowners easy, practical ways to reduce pollution and improve our environment.
Once the initial excitement of celebrating Earth Day has died down, don’t forget to install and use your new rain barrel or your composter. Neither item does the environment much good if it is left sitting in the garage or backyard without being put to use.
Fortunately, installing and using a rain barrel or composter is not “rocket science.” Trust me, I know from my own experience. This is definitely one of those “if I can do it, you can do it” scenarios.
Rain barrels can be easily installed by following the instructions at the bottom of the page on rainscaping.org. Using a rain barrel helps the reduce pollution by capturing the initial flush of rain water that comes off a roof when it rains. According to rainscaping.org, the water trapped in a rain barrel will contain most of the contaminates that were on the surface of the roof.
Attaching a soaker hose to a rain barrel will provide water for a garden and reduce the amount of stormwater runoff from a yard while microorganisms in the soil break down contaminates in the rain water.
The Earth Machine composter that was on display at the Severna Park Earth Day Festival was available for pre-order from the Greater Severna Park Watershed Action Group. This unit provides homeowners a way to benefit the environment by making valuable compost from kitchen scraps and yard waste to improve the soil in gardens or lawns.
Whether you use the Earth Machine or one of the free compost bins offered by Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works, remember successful composting requires that organic material in the composter be aerated by turning it once a week to help ensure proper decomposition. If you did not purchase or own the turning device, then use that old 7-iron golf club collecting dust in the basement to do the job.
The University of Maryland Home and Garden Information Center provides lots of good “how to” information about composting for both novice and experienced gardeners.
Please remember to use the knowledge you gained from the Earth Day Festival around your home every day. Using rain barrels and composting are two simple, yet effective, ways for homeowners to help reduce pollution and improve environment in the Severn and Magothy river watersheds.