Monday, March 17, 2008

Trash it or Compost it? Bag it or ReBag it?

Trash it or Compost it? Bag it or Rebag it?

by Billie A Williams

Compost improves soil drainage and water retention — we all know that as organic gardeners. But it makes a difference what you put into that compost heap. So what is the idea recipe?

Three parts carbon-rich brown matter like wood chips, shredded newspapers the dead leaves from your fall raking and plants you’ve culled from your thinning process in your garden.

You need to mix that with one part nitrogen-rich green matter, which can be grass clippings – that is one good reason to have a mower with a grass catcher. Green leaves and fruit and vegetable waste such as peels, cores, bruised or damaged spots from your cooking. You may also add coffee and tea grounds/leaves, egg shells just about any kitchen scraps except meat and meat by products.

Your compost pile should be at least three cubic feet – that’s three wide, three high and three deep – think a cube of soda and you will be able to visualize that cube. If you are using a barrel composter, you mound isn’t’ in direct contact with the earth so you will need to inoculate your mound with garden soil, finished compost or fresh manure. The smaller your ingredients the faster they become compost. You could use a leaf shredder, or your lawn mower or even run your tiller through your compost heap to make it break down quicker. You should turn the pile no more then once a week and keep it moist but not soggy. A useful analogy is to think of a sponge that is wrung-out, it is still wet, but it doesn’t drip when you pick it up.

Compost takes nine to twelve months to fully mature; if you add to your heap regularly, use a screen to sift out finished compost. It’s ready when it looks and feels like moist chocolate cake crumbs and smells like fresh-turned earth.

Contrary to popular belief in some areas, your compost heap when done properly will not have an offensive odor.

Which brings us to what to use when you go grocery shopping, when they inevitably ask you paper or plastic? Give this some thought.

Paper bags are made from a renewable resource, obviously trees. They are recyclable and biodegradable. On the negative side, chemicals used to manufacture paper bags pollute air and water.

Plastic bags require less energy to manufacture, equaling less air pollution and industrial waste, but they are made from nonrenewable petroleum or natural gas, and are non-biodegradable—toxic chemicals are also used during manufacture.

The best solution – recycle by bringing your plastic bags back to the store for more groceries when you shop – or — and this is the best, bring your own cloth bags to fill when you shop. This may be a little inconvenient for a major shopping trip, but if you could recycle or reuse, bring your own cloth you are saving at least some of the environment we will be leaving to the next generation.


Billie A Williams is an award winning, multi-published author who's accidental sleuths solve crime with wit, wisdom and chutzpah. visit her website for more information at

email: billie at billiewilliams dot com

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sometimes Words are planted in a Garden of Prose

And what grows may be an amazing new career. Check out what you can do if you follow your dream - and bloom where you are planted. One Woman's Garden - not necessarily mine, but it could be.

We’ve certainly had some great comments during each stop
of the Virtual Book Tourfor Jordan Dane.
Why was she chosen to be our first vic … I mean featured author?
Because she has a very professional website.
Because she has a very professional blog.
Because she has a presence on MySpace and other networking sites around the ‘Net.
Because she attends every writer’s conference she can possibly get to
to network with successful writers, editors, agents.
Because she promotes herself as a professional writer.
She isn’t resting on her laurels after having sold SIX books
to Avon HarperCollins before the first one hit print.
If you’re like me and wannabe like Jordan, take a look
at how you’re promoting yourself. Does your website look
like a novice put it together Do you remember to blog
more than once a month Do you network with other writers?
Or do you do like too many very good should-be-published writers
… and hunker down in the corner pretending that you’ve done
everything you can and the publishing world and all
its agents are against you?
Think about that as you visit the next stops on
The Writer’s Chatroom’ “Show—Not Tell” virtual
book tour featuring debut author Jordan Dane.
Jordan and Avon HarperCollins are offering
opportunities to win great prizes all along the tour.
Next up:

March 19 Cricket Sawyer


March 22 Diana Castilleja


Give yourself every advantage to learn from this marketing dynamo—

who just happens to also be a very good writer—

and read the interviews and comments at previous stops:

Billie Williams at

Linda J. Hutchinson at

Kim Richards at

Lisa Haselton at

And don’t forget to come to the “Launch P-A-R-T-Y!” on March 30th! There are prizes galore!