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Green Living

Better options for bagging leaves become the rule

Be sure to ask Santa for compostable paper bags or a new bin for your yard waste in 2017. Beginning in January, neither Annapolis nor Anne Arundel County will accept plastic bags in its curbside pickup of grass clippings, leaves, Christmas trees and other yard waste.     The new regulations mean putting yard waste in a bin (but not your yellow one for recyclables), biodegradable paper bags or in a secure bundle tied with twine. Mark reusable containers with an X. In the city of Annapolis, you can request a 32-gallon green recycling cart for your yard waste.

Get a fast start with my Gouin brew

This is a great time to activate the compost pile. The fallen leaves are rich in nutrients and organic matter. Mother Nature has been using leaves as natural mulch since the beginning of time.     I begin with my leaf blower, blowing as many leaves as possible under the branches of the shrubs to mulch them over winter.

Visit the Annapolis Green House for gifts, ideas, recycling

Not every gift you’ll read about in Bay Weekly this week wants wrapping. But the gifts you do wrap can look pretty without generating a ton of waste in the form of boxes, bows, ribbon and tissue paper. The eco-organization Annapolis Green has set up shop as the Annapolis Green House at 92 Maryland Avenue and is-wrapping gifts using unique, innovative packaging in recycled, fun materials that would otherwise go to waste. Think burlap, fabric, blueprints and more — plus all the wrapping materials you’ve recycled from years past.

Treat yellow-green leaves with ­compost or fertilizer

If your hollies are heavily loaded with berries this fall, most likely the foliage will turn yellow-green, downgrading the contrast with the red berries. It takes a lot of energy and nutrients for plants to produce fruit. This is especially true if the branches are heavily laden with large clusters. Heavy-fruiting hollies generally appear chlorotic. This problem can be corrected by applying a nitrogen-rich mulch such as lobster compost, chicken manure compost or lawn fertilizer between the trunk of the plant and the drip line.

Every half-shell you save makes a home for 10 baby oysters

Oysters don’t like to live alone. “They are very social,” says Oyster Recovery Partnership executive director Stephan Abel.     They also like to be close to their families. Oysters grow up together, indeed bonded together, on reefs constructed by generations before them. With the destruction of reefs through centuries of all-out harvesting, new generations of oysters depend on us to supply new reefs of old shell for them to grow on.

Beekeepers political activism rewarded

Buzzing through the halls of the Maryland Statehouse during the 2016 legislative session were some distinctive lobbyists: beekeepers, dressed in full regalia, advocating for a Maryland ban on home use of bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides.

Solar array earns St. Margaret’s Church Silver-Plus LEED certification

Ninety-eight solar panels now top the roof of St. Margaret’s Church formation building, already LEED silver-certified for environmental friendliness. St. Margaret’s, a congregation more than 300 years old, is part of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland and located on the Broadneck peninsula.     “Our vestry board supported the idea that the new building be as environmentally responsible as possible,” said the Rev. Peter W. Mayer, Rector at St. Margaret’s.

Through torrents and drought, rain gardens look good and do good for the environment, too

After a wet spring when rain was abundant in Chesapeake Country, we are now in the midst of a heat wave with chance blasts of short-lived rainfall.     Most of the water that fell for 15 days straight from April 27 through May 11 washed unimpeded into our rivers, flooding streets and carrying whatever was in its path into the Bay. The luckiest raindrops were caught by thirsty native plants and flowers and held in a rain garden just long enough to send that water into the soil below, clean and filtered from pollutants.

You can’t catch any fish if they ain’t there

Being the Severn Riverkeeper is not so much a job as a roller coaster ride. Having a biologist wife, Nancy, to teach me the science and a good friend, Sarah Caldes, to do the grant writing have made it a fun ride.     My early childhood was all about trying to catch fish in Baltimore’s Lake Roland and the Homeland Lakes and in the Severn River. When I was 10, every spring started with a trip to the Severn for the early spawning runs of its iconic fish, the yellow perch.

Yes, but do it at the grocery

Anne Arundel Countians are lucky to have their recycling picked up at the curb. With the county’s single-stream recycling program, you don’t even have to sort. Even so, 26 percent of what goes into the trash is recyclable, according to Anne Arundel County Recycling.     Getting that quarter of our waste out of the trash stream depends not only on the will to recycle but also our knowledge.     You can find a list that outlines most of what is and is not accepted for curbside recycling on the website www.recyclemoreoften.com.