Last week I was blessed to visit Ojai, California for a couple of days. Whenever I’m traveling I look for gardens and garden centers to visit, of course, and in addition to hiking the hills around Ojai, and deeply inhaling the fragrance of the flowering citrus trees, I found several other plant destinations of interest. One was the Ojai Community Demonstration Garden, next to the city hall and across from the police station. I liked the compost bin demonstration area that contained several styles of bins, and there were roses and herbs in bloom.

My attention was also captured by the educational poster on one side of the entrance.

There is so much that goes into the average American's garbage can that doesn't need to be there.

There is so much that goes into the average American’s garbage can that doesn’t need to be there.

I was struck not only by the 41% that’s composed of yard trimmings and food scraps, but also by the 27% that is paper. Much of that paper could also be composted on home properties. I remember hearing Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd lecture one time and how they explained that they used all of the seed and plant catalogs that arrived in the mail to create a weed-smothering carpet under the bark mulch on the paths of their vegetable garden. Much of our junk mail, envelopes and other paper waste could be shredded and placed in the compost pile or used to start fires in our barbeques.

The visit to this garden in Ojai made me realize that although I routinely complain about too much packaging that has to be thrown in the garbage, there are ways that I can do more to compost what already comes onto my property.

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