Read it.  Amended attitude: a new commitment to soil health using compost, written by Gary Gittere and recently published by SportsTurf Magazine.

Waltrip's Express Conveyor

Waltrip’s Express Conveyor

All McGill hats are off to Waltrip Recycling of Williamsburg, Va., for their ingenious  Express Conveyor,  a portable compost offload-to-blower-truck unit  that eliminates a time-consuming step in the application process.

A walking floor trailer backs up to the right side of the apparatus, and then the truck backs out the mulch or compost as a conveyor moves the material up and into a blower truck.

Waltrip says, for some jobs, it’s possible to load directly from the delivery truck to the blower truck with no product hitting the ground and no loader required.   And, yes, we hear they are manufacturing these units for resale and job site rental.

Do you have a mod for commercial-scale compost applications?  Send us a picture and brief description, and we’ll add it to the collection.

For more information visit Waltrip Recycling to see the other services that they offer.

Container gardening is a fun and easy way to grow food and ornamental crops, the ultimate “no till” experience.  The Holly Springs Food Cupboard is using a natural straw so the container will eventually biodegrade.

When choosing bales for your container garden, be sure to use baled straw and not hay.  Straw is wheat stubble baled after grain harvesting.   Hay is baled grass, which includes seed heads that can reseed where least welcome.

When adding a performance compost as part of a container blend, use no more than 30 percent compost in the mix.  For particularly sensitive plants, use less.  When in doubt, talk to a horticultural specialist at your local garden center or Cooperative Extension Service.

Check out the cool “containers” and other pixs from the Holly Springs Food Cupboard community garden on our Facebook page at


cary promotes compost useLast month, town officials in Cary, North Carolina, organized another of their popular compost giveaway events.  Residents loaded up free compost manufactured from waste materials generated by the community.

As a result, the line of cars, trucks and SUVs often spills into the street for Cary compost distributions.  This year, vehicle count for the “while it lasts” divvy-up was 204.

Sending waste off to be recycled only takes us halfway around the recycling loop.  To close it, people must use the products manufactured from those residuals and by-products.

The folks in Cary get it.  They also get gallons of irrigation water saved.  Other benefits include stormwater runoff reduction and lower water treatment costs.  Plus, every patch of suburban lawn or sports field amended with compost sequesters carbon.

Jared Burch, Burch Farms

Jared Burch, 4th generation farmer

Burch Farms in Sampson County has been using McGill AG compost for many years.  I met fourth-generation grower, Jared Burch, in one of their fields late last summer as he prepared to plow sweet potatoes.

A graduate of North Carolina State University, 25-year-old Jared farms about 6,000 acres with his father, uncles and cousins. He is well aware of the need to keep the soil enriched to produce crops and spoke of the importance of returning organic matter back into the sandy soil where they farm.

The Burch family incorporates about 15 cubic yards of compost per acre prior to planting. Burch Farms is known for their sweet potatoes, peppers, greens and other produce. Over the years, Ted Burch, Jared’s uncle, has seen money savings from purchasing less fertilizer and better moisture-holding capacity in irrigated fields during the hot summer months.

CONTRIBUTOR:  Ruth King, McGill-Delway compost sales

Golf is the lifeblood of Innovative Turf Services (ITS), the Virginia-based turf and landscape distributor. Company owner Marc Petrus estimates 95 percent of his company’s clients are golf courses.

Helping clients like Jefferson Lakeside Country Club and Lake of the Woods Golf Course fix their troublesome brown spots remains one of ITS’ real challenges. Fortunately for all involved, McGill SoilBuilder has become a real part of the solution since ITS began using it three years ago. “We’re just seeing much darker, greener grass in areas where this material has been applied than in areas where previous material was used,” Petrus said.

Petrus appreciates that McGill SoilBuilder is finer than other composts, allowing for easier spreading. He also noted it contains less wood filler and more nutrients, helping make grass more drought-resistant. As a result, “the turf in those affected areas really comes back to life,” Petrus said.

And ITS-supplied golf courses are thrilled with the results.  “Everyone loves what they see,” Petrus said. “They’re growing grass on areas where they never could before, giving their clientele better playing conditions.”


Organics recycling helps Lipton’s Suffolk, VA employees reach zero landfill goal.

When the plant manager of Lipton’s Suffolk, Virginia facility challenged his employees to improve their recycling program in late 2008, it yielded a surprising end—the plant become a zero landfill facility.

As Lipton employees worked to improve their recycling rate in early 2009, the plant manager realized they were quite close to recycling all of their excess materials. Still – “There were a few items we couldn’t find a home for,” said Michael Boone, Lipton’s warehouse supervisor, mainly, excess tea and some paper from the manufacturing process.   When the plant manager got in touch with McGill, he found a taker for these by-products, and Lipton officially became a zero landfill facility in May 2009.

Lipton puts all compostable materials in a compactor, then a hauler trucks them to McGill’s composting facility near Waverly, VA. Today, the company sends McGill about seven tons of organics per week, recycling the tea’s nutrients and helping make their business that much more sustainable. Which, really, is everyone’s cup of tea.