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Town Compost?

Published in the six Nashoba Publishing papers on Friday, 26 October 2001

Time to rake. I put leaves in the wooded part of our yard, in order to add humus to the poor, sandy soil there. Run through the shredder-chipper, they break down in less than a year. You can also drive a power motor over them to chop them up, and collect them in the bag attachment.

If you don’t have a good place to compost your leaves, what can you do with them? I asked area towns. (Burning them is illegal.) In Groton, you can take them to the Transfer Station on Cow Pond Road, open Wednesday to Saturday 8 am to 4 pm (448-1160); also grass clippings — but no brush. They turn the piles to get everything evenly decomposed; and they screen the finished compost to remove rocks and trash, and to even up the texture. Residents of Groton may dig into the piles of gardener’s gold and take it home to their gardens.

In Shirley, there’s a small area at the Recycling Center on Leominster Road where you can leave leaves, grass clippings and small brush from 9 to 3 on Saturdays (call 425-2626 for more information). In Ayer these materials can be left at a holding area on the Department of Public Works property on Bishop Road near the Catholic cemetery (772-8240). The pile is not worked, and when it gets too big the DPW has it removed. I hope it gets used to enrich soil somewhere. In Harvard and and Pepperell there are no provisions made by the town for residents to get rid of compostable yard waste.

In Townsend, leaves, grass and small brush can be left at the compost area behind the Recycling Center, at 46 Greenville Road, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 9-3 (597-1716). However the Center doesn’t have the proper equipment or enough labor available to manage the materials well, so getting compost out of the impressive piles there is iffy. On the day I wrote this, they had just managed to get some more finished parts separated out so you could get at it; as a result they are currently welcoming residents who want to come dig. Free, wonderfully rich and black, but with big pieces of plant material mixed in; you’ll need to screen it. And you need to get there soon, because when leaves get piled up there, they will block access to the finished pile.

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© Copyright 2001 Catherine Holmes Clark