Clay County Soil and Water Conservation Districts recently announced the 2012 spring rain barrel and composter sign up is taking place.
Orders will be taken through Monday, April 2. The rain barrels cost $60 and come in black, blue, terra cotta and gray (based on availability).
The composters cost $115 and come in black.
For more information or to order, call 448-1108 Ext. 3. The pickup is scheduled for April 6.
The rain barrels and composters are from Upcycle Products.
Officials with the Clay County Soil and Water Conservation District (CCSWCD) said there are many benefits to owning a rain barrel, including:
* Free water. Money is saved and there will be a supply of free natural rainwater to use around the home and garden. The average size of the rain barrel is 55 gallons,
* Reduces storm water runoff -- Collecting rainwater reduces runoff, which reduces nutrient and sediment load. Sedimentation is the top pollutant in rivers, lakes and streams,
* Reserve source of water for droughts. It helps save plants and newly planted trees,
* Better for plants and gardens -- Rainwater stored in rain barrels is naturally soft water and devoid of minerals, chlorine, fluoride and other chemicals, thus plants respond very well to it, and
* The impact on the environment. Actions have impacts. It's responsible conservation and a "green" alternative.
Those not familiar with composting might ask why people compost, which according to CCSWCD officials is a money saving alternative.
But, plants need more than just nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium found in most "balanced" fertilizers. For plants to stay healthy and grow strong, they also need dozens of micronutrients.
Plants benefit from organically active soil, which helps prevent bacterial and fungal diseases and attracts earthworms, which further enrich the soil.
Composting adds all of these features. The compost at the store is usually composted cow manure, which still works, but basically gives plants the same nutrients cows eat.
Compost made through yard waste and kitchen scraps has greater nutritional value and is free.