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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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October 29, 2014     Feather River Bulletin
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October 29, 2014
 

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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter ' Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014 '1:311 Take steps now to prepare Mona Hill Alan Morrison Special tO Feather Pubt!shing Late October may Seem like an odd time to be thinking about next spring but a little work now will pay dividends in your garden next year. In one fell swoop, you clear fall litter from your property and enrich your soil. While commercial fertilizer has its place,'there's plenty of green waste available from the garden and household to mix with fall leaves and pine needles, straw, manure, weeds and .whatever else you have on hand to build a compost pile or two. Not only is homemade compost free, you know where it came from and can tweak the mix to your own requirements. The word compost comes from the noun decomposition, which is part of the nutrient cycle in nature. Without decomposition, dead materials would not break down, be returned to the nutrient cycle and be used again. Decomposition is happening continuously in our forests, fields, parks and yards. Compost is the end result of this decomposing process and contains all the nutrients that went into making it, but now they are in a form available for plants to use for their growth and reproduction. Properly built, managed and protected from the cold nights and mornings, compost will heat up, decompose and be ready for the garden in a few weeks. However, even if your compost piles are less than perfect, and they don't heat up to the optimum degree, rest assured that decomposition is still happening, though maybe at a slower rate. At this time of year, it is difficult to find the optimum conditions, but even if your pile is "cooking" more slowly, you can still end up with go0d compost in the spring. Working compost into your garden beds will enhance soil fertility and structure, add trace elements and help retain moisture. For all your construction needs How to build a compost pile Compost bins are not required: a simple pile in an out-of-the-way sunny area will work just as well as the fancy bins sold on TV. Garbage cans with some holes in the sides, chicken wire, pallets and T-posts are other Master Gardener GARDENING WITH ALTITUDE methods of corralling compost. Key here is access to turn the pile. Turning compost adds air to the pile. Compost piles require the same inputs we do air, water and nutrients. And just like for us, air is the most important ingredient. The optimum size for a compost pile is about 3 feet cubed. Bigger is OK, but more work to turn; with smaller piles it's harder to get the necessary volume to make the pile heat up. By volume, you'll need a 1-to-1 ratio of nitrogen-rich material to carbon-rich material; a good rule of thumb is green = nitrogen and brown = carbon. See the sidebar for help with what's green and what's brown. Smaller sized material is better for the pile to heat up. You can shred or cut material to be about 0.5 to 1.5 inches in size, especial the carbon material. Green waste doesn't need to be quite so small; it collapses pretty quickly. Use a lawn mower to cut up leaves and pine needles to avoid matting. If you have a chipper, chip small branches and twigs down to size. Assemble the pile in layers -- carbon, nitrogen, carbon, nitrogen -- moistening each layer thoroughly as you add it until you have a pile that's about a cubic yard in size. The ideal moisture content is about the same as that of a wrung-out sponge. Put a lid on the bins ff you have them or cover the pile with plastic sheeting (clear is best) to retain warmth. Here's the secret to fast compost: Turn it regularly. Remember, air is the most important of the ingredients. Move the hot interior to the edges and the cooler outer material to the middle. You want the pile to get to about 160 degrees F to kill most of the weeds and seeds in the pile. When the pile begins to cool down, it is time to turn it again. In about two weeks (if all conditions are optimum), the pile will stop working (no more heat): Now it is time to turn the pile again. When the decomposition is f'mished, you will not be able to recognize any of the original materials. It will have magically turned into dark, rich, sweet-smelling compost, a true miracle of nature. You can screen the comPost for use in your garden. Anything that's too big can go back into the next compost pile. Cover it up for the winter Mulch: Mulch is different than compost mainly in that it is plant material that has not been broken down by the decomposition process. It is not meant to be tilled in or incorporated into the topsoil. Instead, mulch is used to cover the soil much like we use a blanket. A thick layer of mulch can prevent the freeze/thaw cycle in the topsoil, preventing frost heaving. Once the topsoil has been amended, cover the soil with at least 4 irmhes of mu ch.: Leaves; straw, pine needles and grass clippings all make fine mulches. Mulch will suppress weed growth during the late fall and slowly decompose through the winter, as well as offer some degree of frost protection. Most perennial plants and fruit trees can benefit from a layer of mulch in the fall. When the spring thaw comes, the mulch can be raked away, leaving the part that has broken down over the winter. Plastic works as a mulch I ring but adds nothing to the soft. If you do use plastic, make sure you pick it up and dispose of it before sunlight turns it brittle and breaks it into billions of small pieces. Some weeds will sprout but wither for lack of light and moisture. For more information about mulch, cover crops and weed management, visit http://bit.ly/lxljpdx, http://bit.ly/lwvitDd and http://bit.ly/ltgeAFS. The University of California Master Gardener Program provides the public with UC research-based information about home horticulture, sustainable landscape and pest management practices. Administered by local University of California Cooperative Extension county offices, the master gardener program is the principal outreach and public service arm of the university's division of agriculture and natural resources. For advice on plant problems, call the UCCE Plumas-Sterra Master Gardeners at283-657R.~,- .......... .. ............... Caltrans launch ga tot :h teen drivers me safety in work zones In an effort to fight zones. The mobile and online distracted driving and raise format helps get teen drivers "- public awareness during engaged while actively National Teen Driver Safety learning safe driving skills. Week last week, the Mobile versions of the game California Department of are available for download on Transportation (Caltrans) the App Store and Google joined with the Office of Play and the online version is Traffic Safety and California played at DistractionZone. Highway Patrol to launch an com. As always, teens should interactive, mobile and not play the game or text online game called while driving. "Distraction Zone" that helps ' An added incentive to educate teen drivers about entice teen game play is a safe driving. Car crashes are contest being run by the the leading cause of death for campaign's media partner, 14- to 18-year-olds in the iHeart Media. The United States. Distraction Zone contest "Playing the Distraction invites teen players to,submit Zone game will provide teens their highest game score for a with lifelong skills that will chance to win cash prizes. not only help keep these The top prize, donated by young drivers safe, but iHeart Media, is $500. Players protect highway workers," can play multiple times to ' said Caltrans Director achieve their best score and Malcolm Dougherty. enter the contest between According to 2012 data from now and June 15, 2015. the National Highway Traffic The Distraction Zone Safety Association, among campaign also includes a safe drivers 15 to 19 years old who driving education program were distracted in fatal for high schools called the crashes, nearly 1 in 5 were Distraction Zone School distracted by their phones. Challenge. This program calls Speeding is also a common on student leaders to create contributing factor in fatal an on-campus traffic safety crashes. In 2012, speeding was event as part of a competition a factor in almost half (48 to win a cash grant up to percent) of the crashes that $2,000 for their school, which killed 15- to 20-year-old is also donated by iHeart drivers. Media. Applications to enter The Distraction Zone game the competition are due by is specifically designed to Dec. 1. reinforce key safe driving For more information on behaviors like avoiding Caltrans' teen safe driving distractions, being alert and campaign and the Distraction slowing down when Zone programs, visit approaching highway work BeWorkZoneAlert.com. Give us a call today: General Buila~ng Contractor Calif. Lic. #453927 coNs'r.uc'r,oN (530) 283-2035 1984 IIII . , ., . PAID POLITICAL ADVERTISEMENT Experiences that have helped prepare me to serve on the school board: I care about schools and the education of all students and the role schools play in our communities. After serving as the Chair of the Chester-Lake Almanor 7-11 Committee and, more recently, the Budget Austerity committee, I am definitely ready to serve on the Board. I want to be part of a school board that is responsive and receptive to parents, staff, students and the community while encouraging an open dialog. The board must take input from all groups and weigh all the facts before making a decision. I believe the school board should never waiver on its fiduciary responsibility and be willing to ask the tough questions and ensure all the facts and figures are accurate before making financial decisions that impact our students, teachers, staff and communities. As a board member I will adhere to my ethical standards: be fair; be just and impartial in all my decisions and actions; be accountable to the public; ensure prudent and accountable use of District resources; make no personal promise or take private action that would compromise my performance as a board member; consistently uphold all rules, policies and governance procedures; refuse to bring personal or family concerns into board considerations; not use board membership for personal or family gain; maintain confidentiality when called for; and be guided by what is best for all students of the District. Here is a partial list of the hundreds of people who support Traci Betty Bishop Joe Hagwood Jim Madden Jeff Ray Cathy Browning Ciiady Harrell Judi Madden Sally Rice Jerry Browning Alicia Herrbach Janet McCoy Gina Richer Susan Bryner Arlie Holland Ron McCoy Steve Richer Michael Chelotti John Holland Greg Mclntire Aaron Seandel Angie Clark Kacie Holland Guy McNett Dana Seandel Steve Clark Brenda Morgan Arnold Selk Jan Davies Kelly Holt Ross Morgan Dennis Simpson Kitty DeWitt Rebecca Huston Tim O'Brien LaVerne Strate Steve DeWitt Bridget Isham Dwight Pierson Dana Ware Jeff Dillard Dave Keller David Price Made White Trudi Dillard Jeffrey Kepple Florence Price Lisa Wilson Sharon Geney Jonathan Kusel Gain Pringle Peggy Wright Gretchen Hagwood Rick Leonhardt Rachelle RamelliWill Wright "The Right Choice" Paid for by Committee to elect Traci Holt for PUSD Board of Trustees 2014 1 i