SOIL AMENDMENTS

Soil Amendments

A good soil is just like a good recipe, they both need key ingredients to be successful. The two main ingredients in soil are sand and clay. Various other minerals like limestone, sulfer, and others are added to it in smaller doses. A “good” soil is considered a medium loam and roughly consists of:

 

  • 10% coarse sand
  • 45% fine sand
  • 20% silt
  • 15% clay
  • 10% organic material

Please visit landscaping.about.com for more information on soil amending.

COMPOSTING PROCESS

Composting Process

Heat generated from bacteria causes the compost pile to stay warm and active, no matter which season you’re in. Ideally, new material should be added to the composting system during turning and mixing to keep the pile the most active. Visit www.earth911.com to find more information on different composting methods including hot, cold, sheet, and trench composting. Also, to find out what items are good types of compost click here for lists of acceptable and unacceptable materials.

 

 

 

 

 

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Waterwise Wednesday: Beware of the Toxic Algae

Blue-green algae can house cyanobacteria that causes illness ranging from mild rash to death in both humans and animals. Blue-green algae forms a scum like pea soup or paint on the surface of the water during the summer and fall. While most blue-algae is harmless, the cyanobacteria is not.

Nebraska monitors 52 public beaches May 1 to September 30 each year, including Lake Minatare, and posts current warnings on the webpage below. Cyanobacteria cannot be seen with the naked eye, so it’s recommended to avoid contact with blue-green algae blooms and to prevent pets from drinking or swimming near them.

For more information on toxic blue-green algae please see:

NDEQ Toxic Algae Factsheet: http://deq.ne.gov/NDEQProg.nsf/OnWeb/ENV042607

EPA: https://www.epa.gov/nutrient-…/health-and-ecological-effects

DEQ.NE.GOV

Waterwise Wednesday: Feeding the Blue-Green Algae Monster

 

Image may contain: ocean, water, outdoor and nature

“..in the St. Lucie estuary, about half the sea grass, which is a food source for many marine animals, died off during last year’s algae blooms. Among humans who’ve been exposed to the algae, there has been an increase in antibiotic-resistant staph infections. Florida’s governor has declared a state of emergency in four counties,” according to Janice Kaspersen, editor of Stormwater: The Journal for Surface Water Quality Professionals.

Fertilizer in water runoff is boosting the growth of blue-green algae and hurting more than Florida’s $109 billion a year tourist industry. Cyanobacteria flourish with phosphorus and nitrogen, primary ingredients in fertilizers. The fertilizer boosts growth that create large algae blooms during summer and fall that deplete oxygen and diminish sunlight in the water. The bacteria not only affect aquatic life but also cause beach closures for health safety.

Fertilizer is one of the largest pollutants of stormwater runoff in urban areas. Please use fertilizers “sparingly and caringly” – apply according to the directions, when wind is still, and rain is not in the immediate forecast. You’ll be protecting more than just your plants.

Photograph: Toxic blue-green algae bloom in Klamath River in California taken by David McLain for National Geographic.

STORMWATER RUNOFF

Stormwater Runoff

Stormwater runoff comes from precipitation events and when snow/ice melts onto impervious surfaces. An inch of rain on an acre of land is equivalent to 27,154 gallons of water with a weight of 113 tons. This water transports many pollutants, including but not limited to sediment, oil, grease, fertilizers, bacteria from pet waste, and litter/trash. Stormwater DOES NOT get treated prior to being flushed into waterways.

Infiltration Practices

INFILTRATION PRACTICES

Infiltration practices are designs that enhance water percolation through the soil and remove pollutants in the process. A ‘Rain Garden’ is a common residential design, and an aesthetically appealing project! As snow melts, it’s runoff accumulates in these depressed/trenched areas. Captured water generally leaves to the neighboring soils within 48 hours. Directing water from roof downspouts or paved areas enable the removal of pollutants prior to discharge into receiving waters. For more information visit the Water Environment and Reuse Foundation.

Western Nebraska Wildflower Week 2017

Wildflowers endure through hard times, lending their beauty and brightness even to landscapes rarely seen by human eyes. Their flowers and seeds feed birds, butterflies and other pollinators and wildlife; their roots loosen and improve soil; they thrive without care in places other plants could never survive; and they lend fragrance and beauty to wild places all across the state, making us want to take a closer look at places we would otherwise ignore.

Updates on events can be found at http://plantnebraska.org/wildflower .

Wildflower Week Events in Western Nebraska

June 8 in Scottsbluff. “It’s a Green Thing,” 4-9pm Parking Lot Party at the Guadalupe Center, 1200 E 9th St. Plant Sale and activity booths 4-9pm include: 4:30-5:30pm planting demonstration and rain garden/pollinator project overview; goldenrod and pollinator presentations at 6 and 7pm. 308-630-8011, stormwater@scottsbluff.org

June 9 in Gering. “High Plains Prairie Garden Planting Project” 9-10am at Legacy of the Plains Museum, 2930 Old Oregon Trail.  Downtown Plaza Tour 11-noon meeting at 18th St. Plaza. 308-633-1173, aseiler2@unl.edu

June 9 near Crawford. Fort Robinson Wildflower Hike 5-7pm; meet at Crawford Community Building to carpool. 402-580-1293; jevertson1@unl.edu.

June 10 at Chadron State College. Landscape Tour and Pollinator Garden Planting 9-noon. Meet in parking lot along 10th St. frontage near High Rise Dorm. 308-432-6401, lmays@csc.edu

June 10 near Gering. “Wildflower Walk” 9-11am at the Wildcat Hills Nature Center, 210615 Hwy 71. Walk will focus on wildflowers and ways to identify them. Bring water and hiking shoes for the 1-mile hike. FREE with 2017 Nebraska State Park Permit. ngpc.wildcat.hills@nebraska.gov, 308-436-3777, http://outdoornebraska.gov/wildcathillsnaturecenter/

June 11 near Harrison. “Wildflowers 101” talk and walk with a ranger through lowlands, prairie and rocky uplands to see a variety of wildflowers starting at 2pm at Agate Fossil Beds National Monument visitor center, 301 River Rd. Trails are open dawn to dusk. agfo_ranger_activities@nps.gov, 308-668-2211, https://www.nps.gov/agfo/planyourvisit/calendar.htm

 

Waterwise Wednesday: Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Weekend officially launches summer fun season which often includes water games and activities. The water doesn’t have to go waste. Play water games on the lawn or in the pool so that the aftermath simply waters the lawn fills or trickles back to the pool.

EARTH DAY

EARTH DAY

Earth Day is April 22 (EVERY YEAR). It may only be one day a year, but implementing simple conservation practices year-round takes very little extra effort and time. The City of Kearney’s Recycling Center is located at 3007 E. 39th St. and is open 7 a.m.- 4 p.m. Monday-Friday. There are multiple drop-off locations around Kearney:

1919 15th Ave

South Side of Herbergers (Hilltop Mall)

University Heights on the Northwest corner of 17th Ave/35th St.

CLICK FOR MAP OF DROP OFF SITES           South Railroad St./Ave M

Waterwise Wednesday: Seeing Salty Sidewalks

If there is a layer of salt remaining on the driveway or sidewalk after the ice melts, too much salt got sprinkled. If you find excess sand or salt, sweep it up and throw it away so that it is not washed into the storm sewer.

One teaspoon of salt is enough to contaminate five gallons of water forever. Salts, like the de-icers we use in winter, stay in water without settling out contaminating and damaging the North Platte River and freshwater lakes where we fish.