As it starts to feel something like spring, thoughts are turning to the outdoors – including getting our lawns and gardens back into shape.
To help local residents with that task, the town is offering an Organic Land Care Workshop series that will address safer ways to have a nice green lawn, how to take care of our gardens and lawns in ways that conserve water (and how to use a rain barrel), and making our household waste work for us as free fertilizer.
Even when we try to make good choices, it can be confusing trying to figure out what kinds of products to use on our lawns and gardens and then, how to apply them. “People usually don’t realize that a lot of our fertilizers already have pesticides and herbicides in them,” said Virginia Walton, the town’s recycling coordinator and organizer of this workshop series.
People often are unaware of the hazards of misapplied landscaping products. “Pet cancer is on the rise and some of it is being attributed to what we put on our lawns,” Walton said. She added that children playing in the yard and especially infants that are crawling in the grass, also face risks.
Property owners also should be aware of the possible contamination of drinking water sources when they misapply a product. “If you’re using chemical fertilizers and put them on at the wrong time, or use too much, you can pollute water sources,” Walton noted.
The first workshop in the series, “Organic Lawncare,” will be led by Bettylou Sandy – owner of Bettylou’s Gardening. She is accredited by the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) as an organic land-care professional.
Those interested in attending should sign up as soon as possible in order to secure a place in the workshop, which will be held on Saturday, April 4 from 9 a.m. to noon in the council chambers of the Audrey P. Beck Municipal Building (town hall), located at 4 South Eagleville Road. The registration fee is $10. Registration deadline is March 31 – reserve your spot by calling Walton at 429-3333 during office hours. (Town Hall closes at noon on Fridays.)
Smart water use
The second workshop in the series – this one is free – will be “Backyard Water Wise Workshop,” to be held on Saturday, May 2, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., again at town hall.
This workshop explores the water resources on your property – and interesting ways to use them – including the benefits of rain barrels and how to create a landscaped rain garden.
The instructor for this workshop will be Jean Pillo, coordinator for the Thames River Basin Partnership.
The registration deadline for this workshop is April 27. Please register early, to ensure there are enough participants to hold the workshop. Call the Mansfield Recycling Coordinator at 429-3333.
Putting those potato peels to good use
A third workshop, “Backyard Composting,” will be held on Saturday, May 16 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., again at the town hall. This is another freebie.
In this workshop, you will:
- learn about the inner workings of a compost pile and how it is an integral part of organic land care
- compare different styles of composting set-ups
- help you get started or improve they system you’re already using
Again, early registration is encouraged. This workshop will be led by Virginia Walton, Mansfield Recycling Coordinator. Call her at 429-3333 to sign up. Registration deadline is 429-3333.
Bonus! rain barrel sale
Rain barrels are being sold through the New England Rain Barrel Company for $85 total. To take advantage of this program, orders must be placed by Friday, June 12, 2009.
The pickup for all orders is Saturday, June 20, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Mansfield Town Hall parking lot.
To view the rain barrel and place an order, log onto http://www.Nerainbarrel.com/Mansfield.html or call 877-977-3135.
Posted March 26, 2009