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Last Updated: Dec 21, 2014

Home Composting

Create a sustainable, healthy place for you, your family and the environment.

Adding compost to your soil improves its structure, helps it absorb and hold moisture, supplies slow-release nutrients to plants and reduces erosion. An integral part of sustainable gardening, composting helps you create a vibrant, healthy and beautiful garden while conserving water and energy and reducing pollution and waste. Attend one of our free workshops and visit the Lucie Stern Demonstration Garden to learn more.

Quicklinks

Garden Workshops - Learn about composting and less-toxic pest management
Compost Party - Learn in your own backyard
Free Compost Bins 
Compost & Mulch Giveaway Day  - May 17, 2014
Free Compost & Mulch - All year long
Lucie Stern Demonstration Garden
What is composting?
Bay-Friendly Gardening  
7 Principles of Bay-Friendly 


Garden Workshops

Find out how to build healthy soil, minimize fertilizer and water use, and use less-toxic pest control measures at these workshops.

Worm Composting
Less-Toxic Pest Control
Compost Basics

The Earth Machine™ compost bin and worm bin and composting accessories will be available for sale at all workshops except those held by the Master Gardeners at Eleanor Pardee Park.

Additional compost workshops are available throughout Santa Clara County. Check www.ReduceWaste.org  for a list of all the 2014 workshops for ‘Compost Basics’ and ‘Worm Composting Basics’ workshops. Each class lasts about 2 hours and there is no charge to attend. Classes with less than 15 registered will be cancelled.  Adults only please.  Residents are welcome to attend any workshop anywhere in the county. 
 

Free Compost Bins - 2014 Special

Palo Alto residents can receive a free compost at the Great Race for Saving Water on April 19, or by attending a compost workshop. Compost bins are available while supplies last.


Classes sponsored by the City of Palo Alto, Recycling and Waste Reduction Commission of Santa Clara County, and UCCE Master Gardeners.  

 

Worm Composting Basics

Worms will eat your kitchen scraps and create a nutrient rich soil amendment for indoor and outdoor plants. This is a no fuss, no smell and low maintenance way to compost. Come to one of our workshops and learn how easy and fun worm composting can be.

All workshops require pre-registration since space is limited. The Earth Machine™ compost bin and worm bin and composting accessories will be available for sale at these workshops except the Worm Composting for Kids workshop.

    April 16, 2014
    Worm Composting for Kids
    3:30  - 4:40pm    
    Children's Library
    1276 Harriet Street
    Palo Alto
    To register click here or call (650) 329-2436
    This workshop is for children school age grade K-5.

    July 26, 2014
    10am - Noon
    Cubberley Community Center, Room H-1
    4000 Middlefield Road
    Palo Alto
    To register click here or call (408) 918-4640

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Less-Toxic Pest Control

Let a team of Master Gardeners help you figure out what is affecting your plants and suggest environmentally sound methods for managing diseases and pests.  Participants should bring samples of insects or plant problems for diagnosis. Plant samples should be fresh and as large as possible (a small branch, rather than a leaf, for example).  Photos of the affected plant/tree in the garden setting are also helpful.

    July 5, 2014 
    10am - 11am
    Master Gardener's Demonstration Garden
    Eleanor Pardee Park, garden entrance on Center Drive near Martin Avenue
    Palo Alto
    No registration required.

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Compost Basics

Using compost in your garden improves your soil, benefiting your plants and enhancing your garden's health and vitality. Compost helps plants absorb nutrients already in your soil, allows plants to develop better root structure which will help them grow healthier, and holds onto water and nutrients that are applied and slowly releases them when plants need them. Learn how easy it is to compost, attend one of these FREE compost workshops.

All workshops require pre-registration since space is limited. The Earth Machine™ compost bin and worm bin and composting accessories will be available for sale at all workshops except those held by the Master Gardeners at Eleanor Pardee Park.  

    April 26, 2014
    10am - Noon
    Cubberley Community Center, Room H-1
    4000 Middlefield Road
    Palo Alto
    To register click here or call (408) 918-4640

    June 7, 2014
    10am - Noon
    Common Ground Garden Supply
    559 College Ave
    Palo Alto
    To register click here or call (408) 918-4640

    August 19, 2014
    6pm - 8pm
    Cubberley Community Center, Room H-1
    4000 Middlfield Road
    Palo Alto
    To register click here or call (408) 918-4640

    September 6, 2014
    10am - Noon
    Master Gardener's Demonstration Garden
    Eleanor Pardee Park, garden entrance on Center Drive near Martin Avenue
    Palo Alto
    No registration required

    October 25, 2014
    10am - Noon
    Cubberley Community Center, Room H-1
    4000 Middlfield Road
    Palo Alto
    To register click here or call (408) 918-4640

    
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Compost Party

Learn about composting with your friends and neighbors in your own backyard!  Gather 10-15 friends and neighbors and a Master Composter will come to your home to show you and your guests how to compost. They’ll even start your bin for you during the lesson.

Already have a bin? Host a party and share the joys of composting with your friends, allowing them to learn on an active bin and see a real-life example of how it works. Plus, the Master Composter can help you troubleshoot any problems you might be having.

For more information and to schedule a party, call (650) 496-5910.


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Free Compost & Mulch

The Sunnyvale Material and Recovery Transfer (SMaRT) Station in Sunnyvale offers both compost and mulch at no charge to residents of Los Altos, Sunnyvale, Mountain View and Palo Alto. Visit the SMaRT Station online or call (408) 752-8530 for additional information.
 

Palo Alto Compost & Mulch Giveaway Day - 2014 Special

Need more compost than you can make? Don’t have time to make your own? Palo Alto residents may receive up to one cubic yard of compost and mulch at the Palo Alto Landfill (2380 Embarcadero Road) on Saturday May 17, from 8 AM – 4 PM. Compost and mulch available while supplies last. Bring a shovel, containers to carry your compost and mulch home, and proof of Palo Alto residency. 

 

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What is composting?

Composting is a natural process of decomposition and recycling of organic material such as yard trimmings and food waste into a humus-rich soil amendment known as compost.

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Bay-Friendly Gardening

Program for Residents

The Bay-Friendly Gardening program was developed to educate and encourage residents to make environmentally friendly gardening choices. It does not dictate a particular style of garden, but rather is an approach to help residents create a sustainable, healthy and beautiful garden. Bay-Friendly Gardeners work with nature to reduce waste and protect the watersheds of the San Francisco Bay.

Bay-Friendly gardens are not a mold you have to fit into—they offer endless opportunities, from backyard wildlife gardens to kitchen gardens to native plant communities, and more. Bay-Friendly gardening offers an approach to landscaping that makes it easy to have a garden you can enjoy while reducing waste and conserving resources.

Bay-Friendly Gardeners:

  • Nurture healthy soil and plants
  • Conserve water and other resources
  • Reuse plant trimmings through mulching and composting
  • Provide wildlife habitat
  • Feature native and Mediterranean plants
  • Choose least-toxic pest control methods

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7 Principles of Bay-Friendly

Landscape Locally

Recognizes that built landscapes are a part of the larger ecosystem of the San Francisco Bay watershed and that they can contribute to it’s health if designed and maintained using sustainable practices.

Landscape for Less to the Landfill

Means that we should reduce waste by choosing the right plants, avoiding invasive plant species, using recycled and salvaged products in the landscape and by composting, mulching and grasscycling plant debris.

Nurture the Soil

Soils are living ecosystems and when landscape practices allow the soil food web to thrive it can filter pollution, store water, provide plant nutrients, and help plants resist pests naturally.

Conserve Water

Means using a holistic approach of creating drought resistant soils with compost and mulch, selecting plants naturally adapted to summer-dry climates, using stormwater, graywater and recycled water in the landscape as much as possible and using efficient irrigation systems that include self adjusting, weather-based controllers.

Conserve Energy

By reducing the need for mowing and shearing, by shading buildings and paved areas, using efficient outdoor lighting, and buying local landscape products.

Protect Water & Air Quality

Through maximizing permeable surfaces and minimizing stormwater runoff, using integrated pest management, minimizing the use of synthetic pesticides and avoiding overuse of fertilizers, reducing fossil fuel consumption, and planting trees to remove CO2 and absorb air pollutants.

Create Wildlife Habitat

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Last Updated: Apr 24, 2014