April 22 marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. But did you know that the organizers of Earth Day have designated April 17 and 18 as Global Days of Service? These two days are acknowledged by volunteers around the world who come up with climate change solutions for parks, beaches, schools, and forests in their own communities. “Green up” activities, like planting trees, protecting urban gardens, and streamlining energy needs are completed by folks of all ages.

Find Global Days of Service activities in your neck of the woods by visiting the Earth Day website, www.earthday.net/globaldaysofservice.

Get the green-up ball rolling in your own backyard by starting a compost pile. Whether you use it as a mulch or dig it into the soil, you can never have too much compost! Here’s a few helpful hints to keep your pile really cookin’ and the compost comin’:

  • Never, and I mean never, use meat, fish scraps, or cooking fats in your compost pile. They’ll attract varmints and insects, cause bad odors, and slow down decomposition of the pile.
  • Whether it comes from a human or any other kind of animal, hair is full of iron, manganese, and sulfur—all good stuff for your garden. Work it into the soil or toss it onto the compost pile, and watch your plants eat it up!
  • Give your compost pile the air it needs for speedy decomposition. Drill holes along the length of a large PVC pipe, then place the pipe upright in the center of the pile, and add your compost materials around it. Believe you me, it’s a whole lot easier than turning the pile with a pitchfork every few weeks!
  • No time or space to tend to a full-scale compost pile? Try this trick: Save your non-meat table scraps—peels, shredded veggies, eggshells, coffee grounds, and so on. Every few days, place the scraps in a food processor or blender and cover them with water. Add a tablespoon of Epsom salts to the mix, and liquefy. Pour this compost cocktail onto the soil in your garden, lightly hoe it in, and your plants will jump for joy!