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Organic Matter

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NEWS
by JEFF SEMLER | November 14, 2006
We have all heard the clichs about pasture, "Turn grass into gold" or "Turning pasture into profits. " Whether you have one horse or 100 dairy cows, pasture can cut your feed costs. Contrary to popular belief, a horse like most of those in Washington County that is not a work animal, can be maintained nutritionally exclusively on good pasture most of the year. Beef cattle, dairy cattle, sheep and goats are also designed to eat pasture and with the exception of high-producing dairy cows, all can thrive on a pasture diet.
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NEWS
July 27, 1997
By LAURA ERNDE Staff Writer River guide Pat Maitre has a name for the disgusting clumps of organic matter he sees in the Potomac River: "floaties. " Maitre has seen a lot of them this year. "That's what you would imagine raw sewage in the river getting baked by the sun to look like. Anybody who sees this stuff floating down the river would be concerned," he said. Actually, the "floaties" are probably harmless algae blooms. Although algae can signal water quality problems, in this case they are a normal result of low water flows, officials said.
NEWS
April 1, 2013
Did you know that we live in the Chesapeake Bay watershed? Everything we do in our gardens and homes affects the health of the bay and our waterways. It all matters. To improve water quality and conserve natural resources, we teach environmentally smart gardening techniques through the Bay-Wise program. Master Gardeners and I offer classes and do yard reviews to certify landscapes as Bay-Wise.   A Bay-Wise landscape is planted, watered, fertilized, mulched and mowed properly. Pests and runoff are managed responsibly.
NEWS
May 6, 2013
As redbuds flash purple along our roadways and tulips blink red and yellow at our doorsteps, I am reminded that natural beauty is awe-inspiring and worth protecting.  Not just on Earth Day, but every day. Gardeners are some of the best environmentalists, choosing smart practices that help, not harm, our natural resources. Every choice you make as a gardener can tip the balance toward conservation. Healthy gardens grow healthy plants. So build healthy soil to keep your gardens productive and part of a vibrant ecosystem.
NEWS
March 5, 2013
So, you want to start a vegetable garden. Good for you. Growing your own food is healthy and deliciously rewarding. Nothing, but nothing, tastes better than a tomato fresh from the vine. Let's cover the basics. The first is location, location, location. As with real estate, location is crucial. You want your vegetable garden in full sun, near a water source, and in a relatively flat, dry area. Start small. Most newbies think too big and get overwhelmed. You can grow more than 80 pounds of vegetables in an 8-foot-by-8-foot area.  What should you grow?
NEWS
March 11, 2013
You can hardly pick up a newspaper or watch a news show without reading something about the environment or the ominous question: How are we going to feed 9 billion people? You will hear such buzzwords as greenhouse gases, carbon sequestration or green energy. Then there is the seeming contradiction that is the solar “farm” that is springing up along Roxbury Road and Sharpsburg Pike. Am I against solar energy? Not at all. I think it has its place, but certainly not taking up cropland or when it is so one-dimensional.
NEWS
By JEFF RUGG/Creators Syndicate | December 4, 2008
Q: We recently had a couple of trees planted in our yard by a company. When they were done, they did not stake the trees. My husband called them and they said that they don't stake trees anymore. We want an outside opinion and were wondering what you think they should do. And one other thing: They only put down a few inches of mulch. How much is proper? A: Well, my suspicion is that they are right. If the trees were growing in the proper-sized container or had a properly sized root ball for a balled and burlapped tree, and they were planted correctly, then they should not need to be staked.
NEWS
April 25, 2009
By JEFF RUGG Creators Syndicate Q: Like so many other people, I am thinking of starting a vegetable garden. I have never done one and from what I am reading about the subject, it looks rather intimidating. I don't know exactly where in the yard it should go. I don't own a rototiller and the expense of even renting that one thing will eliminate any savings on food. There are lots of other tools and supplies listed, such as compost, that I don't know if I need or not. Can you help me figure this out?
NEWS
By JEFF RUGG / Creators Syndicate | April 18, 2009
Q: I am considering competing lawn care programs. My lawn looks OK, but I don't know if I have enough topsoil. One program seems to be more interested in the soil, and the other one has a series of products to buy. What advice do you have? A: There are several ways a healthy plant can be grown. They can be grown in good soil without much effort; they can be grown in bad soil if they are fed enough nutrients to meet their needs and are monitored for inevitable problems; and some plants can be grown without soil via a hydroponic system.
NEWS
By ANNETTE IPSAN | October 30, 2007
Kicking up a rainbow of fall leaves is one of the great joys of autumn. Red, orange, yellow, purple and brown salute the season in leaves that trickle from trees and crunch under our feet. But why do they fall? And why do they change color? Leaves fall because trees don't need them anymore. Leaves make food for trees from water, sunshine and carbon dioxide. It's called photosynthesis. The chemical, chlorophyll, makes it happen and gives leaves their usual green color. As temperatures drop, trees realize they have enough food stores to last the winter.
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