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Going Green: Hop on the Urban Gardening Bandwagon

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Thanks for all of the great comments about the Going Green series of posts, but more exciting, thanks for the great tips you’ve posted on how you live and work Green.  There were a lot to choose from, but with gardening in full swing during the summer months, Janet from Omaha had a great reminder about composting.

COMPOST whatever you can.  Don’t want to compost or don’t have a place?  Bury those veggie & fruit scraps in the garden.

Despite what you may have heard, composting is actually very easy.  No high-priced compost bins or tumblers required.  If you have some kind of enclosure and the right organic ingredients, you’ve just discovered the recipe to compost, or what gardeners affectionately like to call “black gold”, since it’s full of nutrients.

First, you need a bin that “breathes” so your organic material can break down into compost.  If you want to build one, I’d suggest buying five wooden (or steel) posts to build a round bin or eight posts to build a square bin.  You’ll also need about five feet of high wire to enclose the bin, flexible wire or twist ties to secure the wire to posts, wire cutters, pliers, and a hammer.  Or, if you’re not feeling handy, I’ve seen some compost bins for sale on eBay for as low as $50.

Now that you’ve got your bin, what do you put in it?  Easy.  Here’s a few organic materials you can throw in just to get you started: leaves, grass clippings, kitchen scraps like onion and potato peels, coffee grounds and filters, and egg shells.  Now to the no-list—whatever you do, don’t drop these in your compost bin: meat, dairy products, dead plants, fish, or dog/cat droppings.

You’ve added all the ingredients to make black gold, but how long does it take to make compost?  That depends.  If you want to see faster results, you’ll want to shred everything you add so it breaks down quicker.  Also, don’t forget to turn your compost pile with a garden fork or an aerator tool—I’d suggest two times during the summer months.  If you follow these steps, you could be on your way to seeing the fruits of your first black gold in three to four weeks.

Speaking of how easy this is, a group of Southwest Employees have turned a grassy area near our Dallas Headquarters into a garden that not only benefits Mother Earth but local non-profits too.  Everything is being grown organically—no chemicals or pesticides.  And, all of the vegetables harvested from this garden are donated to local Dallas-area food banks.  Talk about volunteerism at its best!

To top it all off, “The Landing” (the award-winning café located inside the Dallas Headquarters), operated by Eurest Dining Services, donates their organic wastes to the compost pile.  Eurest also uses cuttings from onions and bell peppers to grow seedlings, which are then planted in the garden.

If you’re composting, not only will your rose garden and azaleas love you, but Mother Earth will too.  Composting reduces the amount of waste that ultimately ends up in our landfills.  Doing your part by composting reduces the amount of energy it takes to send this waste to the dump.  So, put your organic waste where it belongs—back into the soil!

DING!  You are now free to be Green.  Let us know how you live and work Green by posting your comments below.

 

3 Comments

  1. What, no photos? Boo. :(

  2. Love south west we try and fly this airline 1st every time

  3. Congratulations Southwest! I and I am sure many other American’s are grateful for you attempts in contributing to a greener earth. I am a loyal Southwest customer and appreciate your efforts, especially because airlines and aircrafts contribute to many environmental problems. The amount of carbon dioxide, unstable compounds, and nitrogen oxides that are pumped into the atmosphere from aircrafts is astronomical. Although, in comparison, the amount of cars entering and exiting the airport everyday could just about match the amount of pollution as an airplane. I am extremely happy to see that an airline (my favorite) is actually giving back to what they are taking away. There is no doubt that we can live in a world without planes, trains, and automobiles, but we can all give a little back to Mother Earth that we are taking away from her. Once again, thank you Southwest. You have set an example for other airlines and American’s that should be valuably followed.