Compost for Cupboards Benefits PHS City Harvest During International Compost Awareness Week

International Compost Awareness Week, May 7-14, 2017, is a time to celebrate the many benefits of compost, as well as those who use it to benefit others.  This year, Laurel Valley Soils has chosen The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s City Harvest Program as their Compost for Cupboards beneficiary.

Compost for Cupboards
Laurel Valley Soils has partnered with our local Garden Centers and the New Garden Growers Market to promote the use of our OMRI Listed Premium Compost.  During the opening two weekends of the Growers Market, which coincides with ICAW, Laurel Valley Soils will have a booth staffed for answering questions and selling Premium Compost where 100% of sales will be donated to PHS City Harvest.  Simultaneously, participating Garden Centers will donate a portion of their Premium Compost Sales and Laurel Valley Soils will match their contribution, all under the Compost for Cupboards campaign.

Compost for Cupboards was created to help organizations that grow fresh produce to serve food insecure residents of the Delaware Valley.  PHS City Harvest program includes 140 urban gardens and farms which distribute their harvests through food cupboards and farmers markets.  For those living in food deserts, City Harvest may be their only access to fresh food.

Here’s how you can participate!

Visit the New Garden Growers Market Saturday, May 6 & 13, 2017, 9 am – 1pm at 8943 Newport Gap Pike (Route 41), Avondale, PA  19311

Visit a participating Garden Center May 7-14, 2017:

Achin Back:  10 Penn Rd., Pottstown, PA  19464

Alexander’s Lawn & Garden:  800 Ogletown Rd, Newark, DE  19711

Delaware Hardscape:  401 B & O Lane, Wilmington, DE  19804

Feeney’s Garden Center:  1134 Bustleton Pike, Feasterville-Trevose, PA  19053

Haines Gifts & Gardens:  196 Route 130, Cinnaminson, NJ  08077

Pughtown Agway:  819 Pughtown Rd., Sprig City, PA  19475

West Chester AGWAY:  956 S Matlack St., West Chester, PA  19382

Want more information?  Contact Suzanne Longacre:  Suzanne@LaurelValleySoils.com;  610-268-5555

The 12 Days of Compost

ICYMI, Here is An Encore Presentation of Your Favorite Laurel Valley Soils Team Members Presenting The 12 Days of Compost!

 

And no video is complete without its Bloopers!  Check out The 12 Days of Bloopers here!

I Won’t Forget To Plant Flowers on Your Grave

Gravener:  n.  A Grave Gardener

 

The award for the most unusually cool application using our Enriched Topsoil goes to The Woodlands for their Grave Gardeners Program.  Yup—I said it—Grave Gardeners!

Grave Gardeners logo

Jessica Baumert is the Executive Director of the Woodlands, and the brainchild of this unique program.  The Woodlands, a National Historic Landmark District, is a 54 acre property containing an 18th century garden, 19th century rural cemetery, a mansion, community garden, and acres of open space that backs up to West Philadelphia’s University City.

With the mansion already targeted for restoration fundraising, Baumert wanted the many “cradle graves” that line the Woodlands Cemetery to also feel the love by being restored to their original botanical beauty.  So with excitement and apprehension, Jessica put her dream out there—with an open call for “Grave Gardeners”, and hoping there may be 20 people willing to join her to get this project going.

Imagine her surprise when 80 people, many of whom are city residents with no land of their own available for gardening, applied!  Blogger Modern Day Dirae, who, like many of her fellow “Graveners” have become mildly obsessed with their grave’s resident, posted this on her blog:

It is with great pleasure that I would like to introduce you to Mary Siffert Ruehmann.

Mary-modern

Mary Siffert Ruehmann’s Cradle Grave

A resident of the 29th Ward here in Philadelphia, Mary was born to Frederick Ruehmann and Caroline Ludy on January 27th, 1846 and died on the 12th of May, 1909 at the age of 63. At this point, I do not know if she had any children. It does not seem likely since she died with her father’s name, but I am going to try to do some more research and see what I come up with.  I have not fully decided what I would like to do to pay tribute to Mary. I am going to visit her over the weekend and see what her grave calls for. Since it doesn’t look like there is any writing visible on the headstone part of her cradle grave, I will likely put roses or some sort of vine up there as a large backdrop to what I will do inside the cradle.”

Mary Siffert Ruehmann’s Cradle Grave after planting

To prepare, the Graveners attended 3 seminars covering topics such as the overall cemetery beautification movement in Phila., Victorian plants and their use in cemetery gardening back in the day, and how to prepare garden beds for planting.

The Woodlands, through the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, used over 100 cubic yards of Laurel Valley Soils Compost-Enriched Topsoil to fill the cradle graves and ready them for planting. LVS Enriched Topsoil contains Compost, which increases soil’s organic matter to:

  • Help hold water, requiring less irrigation
  • Improve soil structure, allowing air, water and nutrients to move freely
  • Provide macro and micro nutrients to plants
  • Supply beneficial microorganisms
Grave

The Woodlands Cradle Grave with Laurel Valley Soil and plantings

The Woodlands is one of the hundreds of betterment projects that we have done in conjunction with PHS.  Stay tuned as we chronicle more of them here in our blog!

In the meantime, want to learn more about The Woodlands Grave Gardening Program?

Check out the video below to see the beautification process in progress:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmqpQsYQH0w

And follow the Woodlands on Facebook here:  https://www.facebook.com/woodlandsphila

DRY Laurel Valley Soils and Compost: Like It Never Even Rained!

May 2016 Was the 10th Rainiest May Since 1900.

But it didn’t stop our customers, because no matter how WET it was yesterday, we will deliver DRY topsoil and compost today!

Laurel Valley Soils 15,000 Cu Yd covered Dirt Shed

Laurel Valley Soils Enriched Topsoil is ALWAYS dry!

With 15,000 cu yd of covered topsoil storage and 30,000 sq ft of production capacity for blending custom engineered soils used for bioretention basins, rain gardens, green roofs and general stormwater management, we definitely have you covered!!!  As soon as you are able to get back out on the job site, we have dry soil and compost ready and waiting to be delivered to your location.  No more dealing with wet product, or delaying work while waiting for it to dry out.

production shed

Our Enriched Topsoil contains our nutrient-rich Premium Compost, which provides the following benefits:

  • Improves soil structure
  • Adds organic nutrients
  • Stabilizes pH
  • Improves disease resistance
  • Supplies beneficial microorganisms, bacteria and fungi
  • Increases soil’s cation exchange capacity, helping the plant to absorb more nutrients from the soil

Want to learn more about ways customers have used Laurel Valley Soils?  Check out our blog post  “Jake and Suzanne Go Site Seeing in Philly

 

 

Cool Facts for National Learn About Composting Day!

 

friendship, summer vacation, freedom, happiness and people concept - group of happy female friends dancing and jumping on beach

So to help you celebrate, and to provide great Memorial Day Party Conversation Topics, Here are 5 Awesome “CLICKS ABOUT COMPOST”!

  1. How does COMPOST help SOIL?
  2. How does COMPOST give your neighbors LAWN ENVY???
  3. Composting 101—a Five Minute Overview
  4. Healthier Plants, Less Watering, Less Disease??? Tell Me More!!!
  5. I want some compost! Where can I get it???

And we wish you a very happy and safe Memorial Day, too!

Just think–with all your party scraps, it may be the perfect time to start your compost pile!

Jake and Suzanne Go “Site” Seeing in Philly!

“Site” Seeing is not a typo!  Jake and I were attending an event hosted by the Delaware Valley Green Building Council in Philly, and decided to make a day out of it by visiting Laurel Valley Soils “sites” throughout the city!

Compost Cam Suz

 

Our morning meeting wrapped up with a tour of Central Green, the 5 acre park located in the middle of Philadelphia’s Navy Yard.   This oasis contains lifestyle amenities for the 10,000+ person local work force and includes a fitness station, amphitheater, a hammock grove, bocce courts, ping-pong tables, a huge communal table, and a bioretention basin for stormwater management.  As you can see in the photo below, this is not your Daddy’s bio basin!  We are extremely proud to have provided the soil to help create this masterpiece of function and beauty!

Central Green Bio Basin

After the Central Green festivities were done, Jake and I headed out, with compost cam and gps at the ready, to check out our dirt piles all around the city!

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society has hundreds of PHS Vacant Land Site projects, and the photos below showcase five of them, after they have been cleared of debris and received our soil delivery.

Piles-2

Below is a great photo, as it shows the various stages of Vacant Land Site completion.  In the background, you can see where the debris has been cleared, and a pile of soil that has just been delivered. Then you see a lot where the soil has been spread, and in the foreground is a fenced space that was completed in past seasons.

PHS--moon

Next was Rodin Square, where Laurel Valley Soils custom blended the soil for rooflite, and the mix is being used for tree planting on a roof garden, around a to-be-installed pool!  Soil must be blown up to the roof site, as shown in the photo below.

Rodin combined

Our final stop was at the Pennovations site, where Laurel Valley Soils are being used for several bioretention basins as well as for planting trees.

Pennnovations

Want us to grab the compost cam and visit YOUR installation?  Call us!

Until our next site seeing trip…..

 

Want LAWN ENVY??? Apply STA-Certified Compost!!

Do you know how the best looking lawns in the neighborhood get that way?

According to Joe Lamp’l, host of Growing a Greener World, it always begins with a generous topdressing of STA Certified Compost!  It’s the most readily available, economical, and stabilized form of organic matter on the market today.

Joe Lamp’l discusses how to topdress your lawn with compost in the video here:

 

 

Why Choose Laurel Valley Compost?

Like Top Chefs, We Know That Quality Ingredients, Blended Perfectly,

Create MASTERPIECES!

Portrait of a female chef preparing a dish carefully

Compost can be derived from many different types of materials, including yard trimmings, food scraps, leaves, manure, and post-harvest mushroom compost.  In the previous two blogs, we discussed why you should use compost, and why you should use STA Certified Compost.  Here, we are going to explain the benefits of using post-harvest mushroom compost from Laurel Valley Soils.

Many types of compost are made using whatever unused products are available at that time, sort of like when your Mom would make soup from all the leftovers at Thanksgiving.  Creating Laurel Valley Soils Compost is more like baking your Great Grandmother’s famous, award-winning upside-down carrot, macadamia and bourbon cake.  It requires using only the finest ingredients and carefully following the recipe, as there are high expectations on the line!

Because our compost is initially created to grow fresh mushrooms, we follow a strict formula containing only the highest quality, purchased and inspected ingredients including hay, straw, recycled horse bedding, cocoa shells, poultry litter, corn cobs, and gypsum.  After the crop of mushrooms is complete, we take back the post-harvest mushroom compost, let it compost down some more, and then upcycle it as premium compost or repurpose it to create enriched topsoil.

So why should YOU specifically select Laurel Valley Compost? What separates LVS from the crowd?

  • STA Certified: which means it meets the quality and consistency requirements of the US Composting Council
  • PA Certified Organic
  • Stored indoors.
  • Screened and Dry
  • Consistent recipe = consistent reliable performance
  • DNREC and PennDOT Approved
  • Punctual delivery for wholesale clients
  • Widely distributed through garden centers for homeowners

At Laurel Valley Soils, we specialize in providing the exact product you need, including creating custom engineered soil blends.  Whether you are looking for straight compost, compost-enriched topsoil, or blends for bio-retention basins, rain gardens or any other need, we have the skill, expertise and experience to meet all your project requirements.

STA Certified Compost–The Cream of the Crop!

Certifications Image

Good Housekeeping, Energy Star, United Laboratories, USDA Organic.  These icons invoke a comfort level; a feeling of trust, safety and quality endowed on the products that carry these coveted seals of approval.

For compost, the United States Composting Council is the governing body which sets the standards for this product.  Like the certifications listed above, the Seal of Testing Assurance (STA) assures you that the compost products you are purchasing meet all the quality requirements set forth by the USCC by independently testing products on a regularly scheduled basis.

So how does the STA Program work?

  • STA Certified compost products are tested on a regular schedule, which assures the production of consistently high quality products.
  • Test results are completed independently by appointed accredited laboratories, and available upon request from, the US Composting Council and the manufacturer, for your peace of mind knowing exactly what you are buying.
  • STA products meet or exceed all related product quality and testing requirements prescribed by state and/or federal regulations, assuring you purchase a safe, eco-friendly product.

Because compost can be created from many different types of feedstocks, and with some manufacturers the components can vary dramatically from one batch to another, it is important to purchase compost that has been STA Certified.  You want to make sure that your soil receives a safe, healthy and nutritional amendment.

Here is where you can purchase STA Certified compost at an Eastern PA/NJ/DE metro region garden center near you, or ask your lawn care provider to apply Laurel Valley Soils Compost and Compost-Enriched Topsoil.  If you are a business interested in purchasing our products wholesale, please contact us at 866-LV-SOILS.

 

The Secret Behind Pinterest-Worthy Gardens

Smiling blond woman in the vegetable garden.

Think Gardens Like This Only Exist on Pinterest???

Not So! The simple, not so secret, secret ingredient behind robust gardens is COMPOST!

And don’t worry—if you don’t make your own compost, you can buy Premium STA Certified Compost at your local Garden Center.

Adding compost to soil provides the following benefits:

  • Increases the organic matter content of your soil
  • Improves soil structure allowing for both better percolation and moisture retention.
  • Adds organic nutrients
  • Stabilizes pH
  • Improves disease resistance
  • Supplies beneficial microorganisms, bacteria and fungi
  • Increases soil’s cation exchange capacity, helping the plant to absorb more nutrients from the soil

As a reminder to apply compost to improve the health of soil and the plants it grows, The US Composting Council has developed the “Strive for 5” Campaign.

Logo_StriveColor_HiRez-no background

 

Most native soils contain between 1-3% organic matter, which is too low to grow!

Increasing SOM (Soil Organic Matter) to 5% or higher provides the benefits outlined above, and creates the ideal conditions to grow beautiful and healthy lawns, turf, flowers and vegetables.  And to top it off—applying just 2” of compost in lieu of the traditional 6” of topsoil can reduce project material cost by up to 2/3!  Now you know why it is referred to as “Black Gold”.

To celebrate the beginning of International Compost Awareness Week, (ICAW), here is a cool video featuring Joe Lamp’l, host of Growing a Greener World, discussing the benefits of using compost in your yard.

Need Help?  Have questions?  Have photos of you compost projects?  Contact Us!

At the Radnor Hunt Races, We’re Focusing On What You Can’t See!

So here we are—publishing our FIRST BLOG!  I am Suzanne Longacre, Marketing Champion for Laurel Valley Soils. I am extremely lucky to be able to utilize my passion for marketing and writing every day here at Laurel Valley Soils, and it is my goal to create interesting and useful blogs to help you grow awesome plants, grass and businesses.

I have thought A LOT about what topic is most deserving of our inaugural post. Should we provide an overview of the Laurel Valley Story, or discuss the many advantages of using compost to increase soil’s organic matter? Or do we feature a case study about one of our awesome customers who are doing remarkable things for their soil and their communities? But as I over-pondered this, and as life often works, the perfect topic literally fell into my inbox.

Wait for it…wait for it…

Radnor Top Dresser

Now at first glance, I am SURE you are thinking— WOW— that is one beautiful pile of compost!

And thank you for that—we appreciate it—but the beauty of our “black gold” is not the focus here.

See, this rich, gorgeous compost is being applied to the Radnor Hunt Steeplechase race track for its Annual Event on May 21, and there are extremely high expectations as this course consistently rates a 10 out of 10 from the National Steeplechase Association, and there is $185,000 prize money on the line.

Steeplechase tracks are judged on performance, as the safety of the horses and riders is of utmost importance. For the best traction, the track must have just the right balance of firmness, (not too hard and not too soft), and requires deep rooted turf to prevent both slippery surfaces and divoting. The grass must also be resilient enough to withstand the continual beating and wear caused by the 6 races that take place throughout the day.

radnor-hunt

Photo Credit Jim Graham

Charlie Fitzgerald of Grass Management, Inc. has been managing this track for over two decades. Every year, five to eight weeks prior to the race, he aerates the soil and top dresses with Laurel Valley Compost to provide organic matter, nutrients and beneficial microbiology. These components help to make the turf more disease resistant while reducing compaction, improving drainage, and encouraging deep root growth. Deep roots allow for better absorption of water and nutrients, while holding the turf in place during the brutal hammering it gets from the horses’ hooves.

Grass Management Inc. Applying Laurel Valley Soils Compost to Radnor Hunt Races Track 2016

So this is why Charlie’s story was the first one we wanted to tell. Many times, turf amendments are applied for the end result of making turf grass look beautiful. But here, the focus is actually on what you can’t see. It’s all about the healthy soil and turf relationship that ensures the prize winning horses and their riders are protected on the big day. The fact that the track looks beautiful is a bonus!

Going to the Radnor Hunt Steeplechase? Bring your #CompostCam and post your pics to our Facebook page! We would love to see them!