Wednesday, July 26, 2017

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish! {Food Waste Part 1: Composting}

Food is an integral part of the water cycle.  Plants need water to grow.  Animals need plants to eat and water to drink.  The big trucks need water to keep their engines cool on the long interstate drives from the farm to the store to the table.  You even use water to clean and cook your food.

We know it’s important to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, but did you know you can do that with your food, too?

Food waste is the name for our leftovers after we’re done preparing, cooking, or eating our food.  In this mini-series, Frannie will look at different ways that we can reduce, reuse, and recycle food waste.



Composting is one of the easiest way to reuse food waste from fruits and vegetables.  It reduces the volume of trash we put into landfills while creating nutrient-rich soils we can use to grow beautiful, healthy plants.

It starts with a box. Or a bin. Or hole in the ground. Or even just a pile in the corner of your yard that is out of the way and people know not to step in.  Any way you have it, the important part of the pile is the worms and fungi and bugs, decomposers that will take whatever you put into your compost and turn it into the dirt you want at the end.
 
Once you have your compost pile or box or hole, you can start putting things in there.  But wait, you can’t put all of your food waste in the compost.  Only put plant-based items in your bin, such as nut shells, fruit and veggie peelings, grass clippings, and weeds.  Things you should not put in your compost include meat, dairy, oils, or fats because they might attract some pests you don’t want near your home.

Once you have added your first compostable materials, cover them with soil or some already completed compost.  This will kick-start the decomposing process by introducing the worms and microbes (little bacteria) to the fresh scraps.

Add a little water for moisture, turn or stir it once a week, and voila! Your composted soil should be completely done and ready to use in just a couple months! Of course you can always add to the top of the pile and scoop out the finished compost at the bottom to keep the process going.

Like Frannie said before, the finished product that comes out of a compost pile is a nutrient-rich soil that you can use to start new seedlings or spread on the top of your garden like a fertilizer.


Share pictures of your compost piles and gardens for a chance to be featured in an upcoming blog! Happy Gardening!

Friday, July 21, 2017

BLOG: Lords Valley Country Club, Lords Valley, Pennsylvania


This summer, the Groundwater Blog will be profiling participants of the Groundwater Guardian Green Site program. The program recognizes green spaces (golf courses, parks, nature areas, educational and office campuses, etc.) for using groundwater-friendly practices to maintain the site. Find out more.




Site: Lords Valley Country Club, Lords Valley, Pennsylvania
Site Manager: Christopher Passenti, Golf Course Superintendent


Tell us a little about your site and its history
Lords Valley Country Club is an 18-hole private club in Lords Valley, Pennsylvania. The golf course was established as a private country club in the early 1970s, and has been Audubon certified since 1996.

What’s the most unique feature of your site? 
The golf course features a lake that surrounds several holes.



What groundwater-friendly practices are you most proud of?
Lords Valley has worked to protect water resources by reducing water and chemical usage throughout the course.

What would you tell another site manager about being a Green Site? 
Being a Green Site has helped Lords Valley focus its efforts on using less water and reducing the amount of chemicals on the golf course.

What’s the best part about your job?
The best part about my job is seeing the great results of the staff's hard work.

________


Christopher Pasenti has been the Course Superintendent at Lords Valley Country Club for 15 years, and a Golf Course Superintendent for 25. Find out more about LOrds Valley Country Club at www.lordsvalleycountryclub.com. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

BLOG: Beavercreek Golf Club, Beavercreek, Ohio


This summer, the Groundwater Blog will be profiling participants of the Groundwater Guardian Green Site program. The program recognizes green spaces (golf courses, parks, nature areas, educational and office campuses, etc.) for using groundwater-friendly practices to maintain the site. Find out more.




Site: City of Beavercreek, Beavercreek Golf Club
Site Manager: Zach Wike, Assistant Golf Course Superintendent



Tell us a little about your site and its history
Beavercreek Golf Club is owned and operated by the City of Beavercreek. It opened for play in 1996. Environmental stewardship is a top priority, and we have been a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary since 2014. 

What’s the most unique feature of your site? 
The 180 acre golf course is set amongst rolling hills and is comprised of many different ecosystems. The golf course is responsible for handling a lot of storm water from surrounding properties during rain events. Through pond and stream bank naturalization, we are able to filter much of the water before it leaves the property and flows into nearby wetlands. 

What groundwater-friendly practices are you most proud of?
We have greatly reduced the fertilization totals on property over the last few years. Providing enough fertility for a healthy stand of turf is essential for creating a natural filter, however, we utilize soil and tissue testing to apply fertilizer precisely as its needed as to eliminate or reduce any runoff or leaching.  

What would you tell another site manager about being a Green Site? 
Being a Green Site is valuable as it ensures proper practices are in place to protect groundwater. Many of the practices that site managers have in place are already beneficial to groundwater. This program ensures that site managers take into account all practices that impact groundwater and make the necessary changes to protect against groundwater pollution. It is also a great certification to show off to all stakeholders.

What’s the best part about your job?
The best part about my job is being able to see the sunrise every morning. It is certainly a view that never gets old. That coupled with working with nature is a very rewarding experience.

________


Zach Wike has been the Assistant Course Superintendent at Beavercreek Golf Club for eight years. Find out more about Beavercreek Golf Club by visiting www.beavercreekgolfclub.com or wike@beavercreekohio.gov.  Follow him on Twitter at @zachwike.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish! {Mulch}

Evaporation happens when water is heated enough to turn into a gas and expand into the atmosphere.  When Frannie is gardening, she wants to make sure that her plants get enough water but that it’s not wasted by evaporating in the hot summer sun.

In the past, she learned the best times of the day to water are dawn and dusk when it isn’t so hot.  But there’s another common and inexpensive option that she’d like to share with you: Mulch.

Mulch is a material that you use to cover the soil around your plants. Many people use it in landscaping because it comes in a variety of colors and textures, but it also does several important things to help keep your plants healthy and strong.
  1. Evaporation Prevention. This is one of the most important purposes mulch serves in this hot weather. Mulch absorbs the heat from the sun and prevents it from reaching the soil that the plant is growing in. Because the soil is cooler, it is able to take in and retain more moisture than it would were it exposed.
  2. Weed Prevention. No one likes weeds.  They take up all the water and good nutrients in the soil that we want for our own flowers and food.  Mulch, by stopping the sunlight from reaching the ground, starves out weeds and they are unable to grow in that area. It also stops any new seeds from landing in your garden.
  3. Soil Improvement. Ok, so we know that the soil in our garden is cooler with more moisture and fewer weeds, but it also builds up the soil.  All types of mulch prevent the wind from eroding the soil but organic or natural mulch can go one step further by enhancing the soil with nutrients as they decompose.  An area mulched with pine needles, for example, becomes acidic as the mulch decomposes and becomes suited for acid-loving plants like azaleas. 
Try using mulch this summer and let us know how it goes on our Facebook, Twitter, or send us an email. Happy Gardening!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

BLOG: Lake Tahoe Golf Course, California


This summer, the Groundwater Blog will be profiling participants of the Groundwater Guardian Green Site program. The program recognizes green spaces (golf courses, parks, nature areas, educational and office campuses, etc.) for using groundwater-friendly practices to maintain the site. Find out more.




Site: Lake Tahoe Golf Course, South Lake Tahoe, California

Site Manager: Bobby Jaeger, Golf Course Superintendent



Tell us a little about your site and its history. 
Our golf course was built in 1959. The land the Golf Course is on was purchased by California State Parks in the 1980’s, from there California State Parks hired American Golf Corporation to manage the property and has since been a huge success, attracting golfers from all over the world.

What’s the most unique feature of your site? 
The Upper Truckee River runs through the Golf Course. It is the largest tributary into Lake Tahoe. It makes the course challenging to play, provides habitat for wildlife, and makes for a scenic golf outing.


What groundwater-friendly practices are you most proud of? 
Our very limited use of fertilizers. We never fertilize the rough or native areas. Our tees and fairways get half the text-book recommended amounts of NPK  per growing season, and our greens are primarily fed from liquid foliar applications. Thus greatly reducing any chance of run off or leaching into ground or surface waters.

What would you tell another site manager about being a Green Site? 
It helps educate people in your community about what you do at your property and lets them know about your efforts in environmental stewardship.

What’s the best part about your job? 
The best part of my job is not only working outside in Lake Tahoe and providing great golf conditions for locals and visitors from all over the world, but knowing that my environmental stewardship efforts help in ensuring Lake Tahoe is clear and blue for many generations to come.

________

Bobby Jaeger has been the Course Superintendent at Lake Tahoe Golf Course for five years. Find out more about Lake Tahoe Golf Course at www.laketahogc.com or super@laketahoegc.com