Tips for ecological gardening from Waste Management

OCEANSIDE — Waste Management of North County offers a few tips to help area residents get the most out of gardens while keeping planting efforts ecological.
1. Create home compost: Composting, a natural decomposition process, happens when organic materials such as food scraps (excluding manure, meat and dairy products) break down, thanks to oxygen, water and nitrogen. Compost makes a great soil additive that will nourish plants and replace fertilizer. To create a compost bin, find a larger-sized plastic container and place in food scraps, mixing them with grass clippings, wood chips, bark, leaves and twigs. For more information, visit www.howtocompost.org.
2. Plant native: Native plant offers a host of benefits, including reducing the usage (and the cost) of fertilizers, pesticides and water. Native plants also reduce air pollution and provide shelter for wildlife. You can discover what plants call your neighborhood home at the Native Plant Database, at www.wildflower.org/plants.
3. Monitor use of fertilizer and pesticides: Use caution when using fertilizers and pesticides to avoid inadvertently damaging a garden. Use an organic fertilizer, if possible and use only the amount of pesticides prescribed on the label. Remember that these materials cannot go in your regular trash. Contact your local Waste Management office to find a Household Hazardous Waste drop-off center nearby. To learn about using homemade organic pesticides, visit www.essortment.com/all/homemadeorgani_renu.htm.
For more information about how Waste Management can help you with your disposal or recycling needs, contact the customer service team at (866) 967-3292.

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