Composting Q&A – a Summer Update

What is compost?
Compost is the stable end-product of the decomposition of organic materials.

Why should I compost?
Composting provides the perfect nutrients your plants need for optimal growth. It also helps in waste reduction by recycling food waste, keeping it out of the landfills, and creates a wonderful resource you can’t get anywhere else.

What are the benefits of compost?
Finished compost: Improves soil health, Makes minerals more readily available to plants, improving growth, Increases water holding capacity of soil, reducing erosion and watering

What are the essentials of composting?

  • Volume. Best area is a cubic yard, or 3’ x 3’ x 3’
  • Moisture. Your compost should be as wet as a wrung out sponge
  • Aeration. You need to turn the pile about once a week to accelerate decomposition
  • Surface area. i.e., the more surface area, the faster decomposition
  • C:N ratio: Carbon to Nitrogen or simply, Brown:green. Also 2:1. Finding a mix of greens and browns that is in balance can be important. (See below)

Where do I begin???
Determine what materials you have. What type of waste do you generate? What is its type and quantity? Know what system you need. Select a location. It should be close to water, convenient, close to source of materials. It should be away from aggressive roots

What are some types of systems?
Home made or manufactured. They can be made of plastic, wood or metal. They can be open or closed. Your choice will be determined by your particular location, needs and ability.

What tools do I need?
You may or may not require the following: pitchfork, machete, thermometer, turner, spade. All these are optional and depend on the amount of time and effort you are able to spend on the pile.

What can I compost?


Garden waste

Kitchen scraps like fruits and vegetables

Animal manures (like chicken, rabbit, cow)

Houseplant clippings



Fats oils


Pet waste or meat eating pets

Poisonous plants

Diseased plants

Aggressive plants

Weed seeds

The basic rule for backyard composting is that you can compost


What if I don’t have an outside bin?
You can use VERMICOMPOSTING techniques. It is very easy to keep these, in a closed bin in a cool basement or under your utility sink. You should use red wrigglers (not earthworms). There are many resources available to find out more. Children and schools especially are appropriate places to use this method.

What are the uses of finished compost?
There are multiple benefits, including Mulch, Moderates soil temp, Retains moisture. It also Controls weeds and Protects trees and shrub from mower blades. You can use iot as a Soil amendment and a Potting/see mix. Some people even make Compost tea (recipes available online).

When do I know it’s ready?
In a few months (for your initial pile) You should observe a dark color. It is crumbly, good tilth. And It smells GOOD!


dry leaves

shredded paper


chipped branches

tree trimmings,


Browns decompose at low temperatures unless combined with a source of nitrogen.


grass clippings

fruit and vegetable peels


inorganic fertilizer,

vegetable kitchen scraps,

green leaves

Not all “greens” are green in color.  For example, coffee grounds are a nitrogen source

Update re: CoVid19 Response

At the direction of GCNJ, all Garden Club events on the state level as well as the individual club level are suspended thru May. This may be extended.

We will not meet for our usual monthly meetings until the Fall. Also Friends and Flowers is currently suspended. The Red Bank flower pots project has been canceled this summer. Since the Kusama exhibit has been cancelled by The New York Botanical Garden, it will take place on a later date. There are no plans for another date as yet. If you have already mailed or given us a check for the trip, please e-mail Ronnie L. or call her and let her know, and she will work with you regarding this.

Our annual luncheon for June has been cancelled as well.

We will get back together as a group as soon as it is deemed prudent. Our biggest concern is for the health and safety of each and every member and friend.

Our President, Leslie, is taking good care of us. We will certainly come back together in the future!

Please take good care of yourselves and feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.

March Meeting Coming Up!

Our speaker is the Executive Director of the American Littoral Society. He will illustrate the many ways we can protect our environment and preserve our precious waterways. Mr. Dillingham is well versed in his field and holds a degree in Coastal and Marine Resource Management from the University of Rhode Island.

We are a coastal community, and we are interested in learning more about what can be done, as well as what is being done to mitigate the effects of climate change and pollution, among other issues.

Join us for this presentation.

June trip to NYBG being planned

We will be visiting the N.Y. Botanical Garden for a day of sightseeing and learning.

bali beautiful beauty bloom

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on

When: Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Where: NY Botanical Gardens, Bronx, NY

What: Bus trip will include a multi-sensory presentation of the artist’s connection with nature. The work of internationally celebrated Japanese Artist Yayoi Kusama

Who The Navesink Garden Club
(also on FaceBook)

Final costs and arrangements will be posted as soon as possible. Please contact us if you are interested [tba]




BJ & Karl Meyer Nature Center Greets Fall

Our work on the Nature Area at #MonmouthMuseum continues and the gardens are thriving! Thank you for the photos (Janine V.)

Happy Fall from Navesink G.C.!


Bulb Planting @Monmouth Day Care

The Navesink Garden Club offered a bit of help in planting daffodils and other bulbs at the Monmouth Day Care on October 3. The children enjoyed it, and so did the adults.

Image may contain: 1 person, standing, child, tree and outdoor

our Hope H. offers some advice and information before the event.

More photos here:

Monmouth D.C. on FaceBook


Trip to Boscobel House planned

For information and for the flyer – hurry up…filling fast!Bus Trip-Boscobel no address.pdf


Bus Trip-Boscobel

Navesink Garden Club Hosts “A Bit of Provence in Monmouth County”




On October 8 at 11 a.m. the Navesink Garden Club will host a program titled “A Bit of Provence in Monmouth County.” Ellen Karcher, former NJ State Senator and owner of Pleasant Valley Farm in Morganville, NJ, will speak about the cultivation, uses and varieties of lavender. After starting her own farm with 150 lavender plants, she now has more than 2,000 plants on ten rolling acres. Ms Karcher will also demonstrate how to make your own lavender sachet. The program will take place at The Atrium, 40 Riverside Avenue, Red Bank, and is open to the public free of charge.

The Navesink Garden Club invites people interested in horticulture and design to attend one of our meetings, enjoy a warm and friendly welcome and learn about the interesting projects the club engages in. Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of the month at 10 a.m. at The Atrium at Navesink Harbor, 40 Riverside Avenue in Red Bank. For more information, visit or contact Membership Chair, Joanne, at



“HOLIDAY BLOOMS” Flower Show a Huge Success



The Navesink Garden Clubs’ Small Standard Flower Show titled “Holiday Blooms” was a huge success and visited by many garden enthusiasts at The Atrium at 40 Riverside Avenue in Red Bank. Featuring both Design and Horticulture Divisions, a total of 107 ribbons were awarded. Marina Kerber won the Designer’s Choice Award for her “Happy New Year” design. Bernice Maguire received 11 horticulture awards including an Award of Merit and received a first place blue ribbon for her “Thanksgiving Day” design. Ronnie Lander won 5 horticultural awards including the Arboreal Award and received a second place red ribbon for her “Thanksgiving Day” design . Pam Marhan garnered a first place blue ribbon and Melanie Straniero a second place red ribbon for their “Merry Christmas” design entries. Theresa Johnson won


second place for her “Happy New Year” design and received 11 horticultural ribbons. Joanne Mallon received two Awards of Merit for horticulture. Additional winners in the Horticulture Division were Yoko Ikura, Janine Voell , Pat Wotton, Betty Lou Berger, Bernadette Kelly, and April Qin. Additional awards in the Design Division were presented to Judy Alberse, Yoko Ikura, Betty Lou Berger, Pam Sutton and Dian Woodroffe and Joanne Mallon.


The Navesink Garden Club invites all who are interested in horticulture and design to attend one of their meetings. You don’t need to be a “gardener” to enjoy a warm and friendly welcome and learn about the interesting projects the club engages in. Meetings are held at 10 a.m. on the second Tuesday of the month from September to June at The Atrium, 40 Riverside Ave., Red Bank. For additional information, visit or contact Membership Chair, Joanne, at



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