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Lawn & Garden

Trending in the Aisles: Spring Clean Up


It is time to stop by your local Home Depot and pick up several packs of lawn and leaf refuse bags!


The long relentless winter had quite and impact on our landscapes.


Customers have stories of death and destruction in their yards, the harsh winter storms caused limbs, and branches to break off trees; and in some cases causing complete splitting of their beloved Japanese maple trees.


Mature, large leaf Rhododendrons, were severely damaged some beyond repair and resurrection; leaving customers with huge holes and empty spaces in their landscape design.


“The more I rake and clean, the more damage I find” one customer told me.


“I have filled twenty-five brown bags already, and I am here for more bags” another customer boasted as he threw a few packs of refuse bags into his carriage….. “I hope this will be enough” he stated as he rolled his carriage to the check-out.



Brown paper, refuse bags have been flying out of the store; the city of Boston, just like other cities throughout the country are in the process of picking up spring yard waste for composting.


Have you ever wondered…..just where all those bags end up, where do they go? How long does it take for those leaves and bags to break down and come full circle and become soil again?


Once you have filled your brown bags and placed them on the curb, they have miles to go, and can take years to go through the breakdown, composting process.



I had the great opportunity to check out the composting site for the city, and see those brown bags in several stages of the breakdown.


CitySoil & Greenhouse LLC, is contracted by Boston's Public Works department, to manage the composting site in Mattapan that process the yard waste bags from all 23 neighborhoods of Boston. 

CitySoils president, Bruce Fulford, has been a city resident, living in the Roslindale section of Boston, for the past 20 years. Bruce gave me tour and showed me around the site, he spoke about the endless resources, and educational opportunities the composting site offers to our city


I arrived at the well camouflaged site shortly after sunrise; the 5 acre expanse is located off a well travel, city highway.  The hard working, processing site is non-obtrusive, it is situated, and borders, a Mass Audubon Sanctuary; honestly it melts away, and is absorbed right into the natural surroundings.



Hundreds of thousand bags of organic debris, more than 15,00 cubic yards that is approximately 600 trucks a season will unload at the site.




The massive piles of bags will slowly breakdown and decompose. The huge heaps are turned; resulting in piles of organic matter that generates an internal temperature of 150* for a complete natural breakdown.



The beautiful, course, composted soil in fed through a screening process to separate all non-organic debris from the mix.





“It is very important that the only organic debris is placed into these bags” Bruce said. Plastics and glass totally interrupt the natural breakdown to make safe soils and mulch, “Glass is the worst” according to Bruce.



The screened soil is distributed to community gardens, playgrounds, and city parks. The whole composting process from time the bags are dropped off, until the soils are in garden beds and is being planted in, can take from 6 months to two years.



What an amazing process!


We are all responsible for regenerating the earth, what we put in those brown bags may end up in the gardens, playgrounds and school yards of our cities and towns. Those brown bags, which we complain about filling, will result in the “black gold”, the soils that will aid in the beautification of our very own, local world.

Do be mindful, and careful  to only put: grass clippings, yard waste and brush smaller than 1" into brown bags, no plastics, or glass,metal, logs or lumber.....please!!!

 The brown bags have decomposed, the plastic bag stays as is, will not breakdown for years to come.


Thank you Bruce Fulford, and CitySoil, for composting all our brown bags!  


I learned quite a bit of dirt today:


The composting process is complex but it is naturally simple and basic as well.


Filling all those brown refuse bags produces a renewable resource that knows no end.


Reinvesting in the earth it is the purest, and truest part of the circle of life.



Stop by your local Home Depot, pick up several packs of brown bags and invest in your earths future.       Maureen




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Posted 2015-04-28T18:09:25+0000  by Maureen_HD_BOS Maureen_HD_BOS