As a follow up to this past week’s composting article, I wanted to mention the virtues of composting with a ready-made composter to keep the process tidy and clean. Also, once you know how the process works it is less intimidating to start your own composting of yard waste.

And now our landfill department is encouraging you to use it, not dump it at the landfill. That costs us all money and wastes a good source of plant food. If you are like 80-plus percent of Greenwood County residents, you have good ole hard red clay to dig in when you can and create nice landscape shrubs, flowers and trees to improve you home environment.

Compost is not only a red clay softener, it increases rainfall penetration which is then available to plants as they need it. Flowers love it. Vegetable plants love it. You will love it when you find out how little extra work it is to collect and compost leaves, grass clippings and other yard debris and turn it into a great soil amendment.

With better planting and growing soil conditions you are more likely to spend more time outside and enjoying it more this spring and summer. Your flower beds and shrub beds will all look better and your small garden will grow juicy tomatoes and many other vegetables.

This and other newspapers can one day provide good soil amendments to your vegetables and other plantings – after you read this article, of course. I have several raised beds in my small garden that now have dark-colored soil that has replaced the once brick red clay I started with eight to 10 years ago. I keep the soil in good shape with yearly additions of compost or leaves. Compost also helps my small group of blueberry plants.

Now the kicker in this sales talk. the landfill has an upcoming free program to train you on how to compost. They will also provide you with a composter if you sign up and attend their two hour class, mentioned below. Numbers are limited, so contact them soon to reserve a spot.

With the new, lightweight, battery powered leaf blowers it is much easier to remove fallen leaves from shrubbery areas and pile them near the plantings or put them into the compost bind. I come to realize all a good gardener needs is a shovel, rake, wheel barrow, leaf blower and composter to make life much easier in our red clay Greenwood soils.

Another benefit of composting is you can save money on plastic trash bags used to get rid of grass and/or leaves at the curb several times a years. Signup for the composting class listed at the end of this article. Bulletin 1600, Composting can be found at Clemson University’s HGIC website:

For questions, call the Clemson Extension Office at 864-223-3264 or stop by our office on East Cambridge Avenue.

Upcoming Composting Class will be from 10 a.m. to noon April 11 in the conference room at the Greenwood County Public Works, 1115 Church Road. Contact County Landfill at 864-942-8754 to participate.

James Hodges is a Clemson Extension agent in Greenwood County. He can be reached at 864-223-3264.