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Garden Wise Living Arlena TVarlena schottGarden Wise Organic Gardening Green Blessings canning freezing preserving harvest


08-24-2008 12:29:09 PM CST

When I decided to do a feature on Garden Container Pot Recycling I thought that this will be easy.

I was wrong at least here in the state of Wisconsin.

The state of Wisconsin does not have a program for the reuse or recycle of those black plastic nursery containers.


I contacted the Eau Claire County Recycling Coordinator Jon Tulman .

Jon told me that he had looked in to a program a few years back but to date Eau Claire County had not implemented a recycling program that accepts the black plastic containers.


I spoke with Nancy Gloe ,the DNR State Regional Recycling coordinator and Nancy told me that the state of Wisconsin has not yet implemented such a program either.


After speaking with several other Wisconsin recyclers and being told that they would in fact accept the pots but the containers are then thrown away, due to the lack of options,

I am very discouraged as to why such a so called Eco Friendly state like Wisconsin does not have a program that would keep over 2 million pounds of Agriculture plastic waste out of our landfills?.


I contacted AGSI Recycling from Savage Minnesota, the recycle company that Minnesota Landscape Association uses for its State Wide March to keep the containers from being tossed aside.


AGSI recycling informed me that they had just contracted with Boerner’s Botanical Gardens in Milwaukee WI with the same program that Minnesota has done for years.

Starting in September Boerner’s Botanical Gardens will be accepting the plastic garden containers to be recycled by AGSI Recycling. The first such program in the state of Wisconsin.


Most of the Garden Centers I contacted said that they would take back their own containers but refuse to take back containers that didn’t come from their stores because of cross contamination issues which is understandable.


The large Box stores like Wal-Mart, Target, Menards and Kmart told me that they will NOT take back any of the containers. Kmart told me that if they did they would just throw them in the dumpster any way.


Minnesota Nursery Landscape Association Director Bob Fitch explained to me that Minnesota has chosen to be Good Environmental Citizens with this program. MNLA Recycle 911 so far this year according to AGSI Recycling has taken in over one and a half million pounds of plastic agriculture product this year to be re born in to garden supplies like Landscape Timbers and Plastic Edging.. MNLA website has a large list of Garden Centers and Wholesale Nurseries that will take these containers and get them to the recycler.
Director Fitch did say that this program is not with out problems. Foreign objects like stones and metal continue to be the largest obstacle for the project, but they are determined to keep the program active.


Please take a moment and write a letter to your Representatives and ask them if they would please look in to a state recycle program for this issue. We all garden for the same reason to be more in touch with the earth. It is sad to know that our love of the garden may cause a problem with our leftovers.


Green Blessings Arlena






05-3-2008 12:14:56 pm CDT

Garden Wise From The Ground UP

It seems as though spring has finally decided to peek out and let us get digging in the garden. So many choices and so much to do.

I am always asked “what do I do first?” I always reply Start from the Ground Up!

Starting from the ground up will insure the rest of your work will not be in vane.

Start with the three basics of soil amendment.

  1. life : what is the life of the soil we are preparing, for instance if we are planting a container garden or an annual bed, we will be looking for instant results so we will want to use premixed soils with slow release fertilizers. If we are planning planting beds that are to be used for perennials or shrub plantings that we will be wanting to use more long term amendments like composts and peat moss.


  1. Soil Type  :what is the soil like that you are amending, if your soil is hard pan clay than I would suggest a soil softener blend like gypsum , sand and black dirt . A sandy soil we would use more organic material like compost, peat and basically every thing but the kitchen sink, sandy soil needs a lot of building .A heavy black loam soil is wonderful but can use a little lightning up with sand and compost.


  1. Plant Needs  :what are the needs of the plants you are planning on planting. Many plants have specific needs for instance evergreen like a more acid soil so we would like to add amendments that would raise the acid level in plants. Decide what plants you are planting and amend according to their needs.


Until next time dig in, get dirty, have fun and most of Garden Wise.

Green Blessings Arlena




04-1-2008 05:11:48 pm CDT



Spring will soon be here, even though it seems as if winter just doesn’t want to give up!


We can fill our need to garden by visiting the home and garden shows in our community. Home and Garden Shows are a great recourse for the newest gardening information and a great way to meet fellow gardeners and share information.

Make a list of questions and don’t be afraid to approach the speakers at these events. I know for a fact that the reason the speakers are there is to share what they have learned and are flattered by your enthusiasm.


Spring Blessings   Arlena

12-12-2007 10:49:10 am CST



My mother us to tell me “Arlena, don’t wish the time away because every year goes by faster and faster as you get older” and she was right. Even with our busy schedules I try every year to continue the traditions that we have started in our family and maybe even start a few new ones.

One of my favorite traditions we call the Blessing Box. During our holiday dinners I gather lots of fun little bobbles like colorful stones, tiny silver and gold bells and old shiny beads. Some of them may have a special meaning some do not.

I place these fun bobbles in a decorative container that will be easy to pass around the table from person to person.

We have a fun little wooden box with a lid on it that is in the shape of a star, we call the Blessing Box.

One person will take the lead and select a bobble from the dish and to the bobble will give a blessing. Saying anything that his or her heart desires, blessings, wishes or even reasons why they feel blessed.

After giving their selected bobble a blessing they will place their bobble in the box and put the lid on. The person then passes the bobble dish and the box to the next person, continuing around the table.

You will be absolutely amazed at what comes pouring out during this moment.

Tissues are a must at our table. After every one has had a turn with the blessing box, the box is placed in the middle of the table to release all those wonderful blessings and thoughts through out the year.

No matter which tradition you choose to do with your family I am sure that it will make lasting memories for years to come. Start one today. The present is truly the Present.

Arlena Winter blessings