Utah has a loooong ways to go

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by JDUtah, Jul 5, 2008.

  1. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    So as you guys know I am trying to switch from the chemical mindset to more earth friendly. Well as I do more organic stuff I am continually amazed at things.

    Organics are not very popular out here.
    And the ironic part is, that is mainly what the soils in Utah need... organic matter. The minerals are pretty decent otherwise.

    From the state extension office...
    "Utah soils are inherently low in organic matter due to the desert climate and historically low plant growth rates. In Utah, soil organic matter levels are typically 0.25 to 1%, while regions with high rainfall such as the Midwest and Eastern United States have soils with as much as 7 to 10% organic matter. An ideal garden or landscape soil would contain a minimum of 5% organic matter." http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/soils5.pdf

    Signs that people out here are not very educated about teh matter.

    -Lots of people bag clippings. LCO's included. Mower of choice? Walker bagger Zero Turn.

    -I go to the dump to ask for their compost analysis and they are amazed that someone would be interested.

    -I mention why I would want it at the dump (organic landscape maintenance) and they quickly jump in that while theirs can;t be used in a certified program, I wasn't really going to be able to find anyone out here that offered compost I could use. There just isn't any organic stuff out here. People just are not interested in it. ('organic based' takes care of that problem)

    -NO recycling program. (one city in my area does it, but it is optional)

    -NO house pickup green/yard waste recycling program. Not even the one city. Before I moved to Utah I lived in California.. every city did both recycling programs out there.

    Now I was thinking... If/when I get into organics more and dedicate enough space for some real composting (maybe worm composting with this idea)... do you think it would be smart to put together a table scrap pickup program? The idea is...

    Send out a newsletter explaining some facts about Utah soils and what they need. Also stress earth friendly and green principles. Explain that for so much a year they can have someone come and pickup their table scraps... no meat, etc.

    Provide just a basic tub for them to store the scraps in?

    Weekly pickup of scraps?

    Compost away


    What do you guys think? What issues might i run into?

    Remember this might be a ways away. Or we might just do it small scale in our neighborhood to try it out and check interest.
  2. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,115

    So adding OM should have great results in your area, its kind of like compost teas in sandy soil you can start to build OM and aggrigation real quick and the results are excellent.

    You'll need a plan, you may be more successful than you think about getting leftovers from grocery stores and such. If you start getting big piles of rotting stuff there are some that will not care for it and then your stuck.

    Study existing composters, go to the composting council web site. Believe it or not they have composting magazines. There will be permit obsticales as well.

    be prepared, be a good boy scout
  3. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

  4. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,372

    I was thinking about this as I was reading. Something to keep in mind is the smell, your containers would need to be able to be air tight or close to it to keep any rotting smells out along with unwanted animals. It would have to be picked up at most once a week to keep the customers happy. I would think.
  5. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,372

    You just described woodstock, and surrounding areas, Georgia to a "T". I felt and feel the same way. The main thing seems to be to get a few lawns going and looking good and then people will fall in line I would think. Especially with these droughts we keep getting, keep the lawn green and healthy while the neighbors lawn goes down hill and they will come running.

    I put out a lot of advertising talking about how you lower the amount of traditional chems by at least 60% and how it will be cheaper in the long run. Along with the whole better for the environment, lawn, etc. Hit the points such as water retention and disease resistance. You got to be careful with your advertising though...

    I got a sweet deal, two page spread, one side is like an advertisement, real big and easy to read, and the other is like an article. The magazine may let you write an article for free if you do a full page ad every month or something. Just ask. These are in community magazines that go to homes and businesses, so you may want to find something similar if you have anything.
  6. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    if it smells that bad your f***ing up in a catastrophic way, the train derailed the fires out of control and the water is starting to burn while the earth stops moving and the sun went super nova!!!!

    if it smells bad it is bad very bad!!! sitting on almost 340 tons of unfinished compost and it does not smell, the pile is 24 feet wide and 50 feet long inside a closed building, NO NONE NOT A BIT OF SMELL!!!! it sure aint a 450 yard pile of stink
  7. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,372

    I am thinking of rotten food scraps. My trash can as it is right now stinks and it is empty. If you throw all your table scraps in a bucket/can and leave it for a week it won't smell?
  8. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    your trash can needs to be cleaned its dangerous, we have close to 50 yards of restaurant waste and fish guts in my pile now, along with 30 dumpsters of manure and 12 trucks full of fruit waste, there is no smell, we are in a warehouse with neighbors on both sides, one whiff of death or road kill and me and my compost would be out of there, trust me, my land lord is a richard
  9. jeffinsgf

    jeffinsgf LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 641

    My 6' x 6' x 4' pile of lawn clippings, weeds, vegetable trimmings and wood chips has no offensive odor. The tumbler we use for the kitchen scraps doesn't either. In fact, both of them have a rather pleasant scent.

    JD, if you're going to offer refuse collection, I think you'll need to be prepared to handle meat byproduct, too. As TG has stated here several times, if you have your act together, it's not really that big a deal. But, I don't think you'll get people to sort their meat scrap from the veggie scrap. You could also offer aluminum, glass and plastic collection. In enough volume, there's a market for the collected materials. As Bill alluded, commercial establishments will generate far more product than homes, but both would be worth pursuing.
  10. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,372

    no tricks or secrets? It just doesn't smell? Seems just the opposite of what you hear and know from trash.

    I guess I will be bleaching out my trash can today then.

    Hearing your contents makes me want to go out and keep looking for stuff. If I could, I would hire someone to do the spraying and spend all my time working on these projects. The problem is the projects don't make money, they cost money, unless someone is using the outcomes.

    I think I am going to go by the guy down the street that has the landscape supply place, you know mulch and rock and what not, and see if he has a spot I can make compost, I might be able to make two piles, one for me and one for him, I will sell one pile to him and keep the other for myself. You think he would go for that? Like I said, you can't find any good compost around here anywhere. We could probably make some good money off of it. I would give it to him cheap, maybe $10-$15 a yard and he could sell it for probably about $30-$40/yard. So we both come out on top and I got a place to put my compost.

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