Preparing your lawn for spring is much simpler than you might think! Most of these tasks are a one-time, if-needed application. Other than that, you don’t have to do much. Here is a simple guide to giving your lawn exactly what it needs to thrive this spring: 1. CLEAN Use a rake or a blower to clear up any leaves, twigs, or other garden debris that may have been left behind from winter. You can also rake up any matted areas of your lawn to help with airflow and to help encourage growth. 2. APPLY A PRE-EMERGENT If your lawn has a tendency to sprout crabgrass, it is important to apply a pre-emergent herbicide to help control crabgrass BEFORE the soil’s temperature reaches 50-65°F. Late April or early May is the best time to apply. Weed seeds will start germinating at this temperature so it is important to prevent this—crabgrass can be very challenging to get rid of. Note: It is only necessary to use a pre-emergent for crabgrass if you actually have crabgrass. Not all lawns do, and if you are properly applying a pre-emergent every spring for 3-4 years, you should not have a crabgrass problem anymore and…
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Vermicomposting, or worm composting, is the biological breakdown of organic wastes through specialized earthworms and microorganisms. Worms eat and digest kitchen scraps and other types of organic matter, leaving behind vermicompost. This is a combination of digestion by the worms as well as decomposition that occurs after the material is left behind by the worms. The decomposition process continues until you are left with compost that can be used as a soil amendment and source nutrients for plants. When any organic material is added to the soil, it improves its moisture-holding capacity and the soil’s porosity (open space between soil particles). You can easily vermicompost in your home in a clean, odor-free way as long as you manage the process properly! Essentials you will need include: An aerated container Moist bedding A few thousand red worms or earthworms Water Kitchen scraps A good way to determine what size container you need is to have roughly one square foot of surface for every pound of garbage. A shallow bin with more surface area is preferable over a deep one because worms tend to stick to the surface when feeding. You will need to keep the worm population healthy in order to…
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Do’s and Don’ts of Mulch Daydreaming about warmer weather, greener grass, and budding foliage? Don’t fret—the season of spring is upon us! There’s no better way to prep your lawn and add serious curb appeal than with a healthy dose of mulch. With color options ranging from tan to red, our mulch product line will match your project vision. Here at the SMSC Organics Recycling Facility, we take what otherwise would have been plopped into a landfill and create the perfect amendments to help your yard or garden stand out and flourish. For our mulch, we break down and repurpose all of the wood, brush, and branches that are brought to us from residents, commercial vendors, and our wood-grinding sites. To help you sift through the basics of Mulch 101, we’ve put together a list of common questions, do’s and don’ts, and a few tips and tricks to get your lawn and landscaping looking top-notch, just in the nick of time for spring.  Why should I use mulch? Mulch—both natural and colored—is one of the quickest and most affordable ways to rejuvenate residential and commercial landscaping. It enhances the look of any lawn or garden and is easy to use….
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February 1, 2019

Backyard composting is something that any homeowner can do—and can be very simple and inexpensive when done correctly! Composting creates a nutrient-rich and moist alternative to chemical fertilizers and can also be used for plants and gardens in your home. It also reduces the amount of organic material that would otherwise go in the garbage and eventually to a landfill. Deciding how to start your compost depends on the environment you live in. If you don’t have a lot of yard space, have picky neighbors, or curious pets, you might want to invest in either a compost digester or a tumbler. However, if you have the space, you can also choose to compost directly on the ground outside. A compost digester is enclosed on the sides and the top and open on the bottom. This makes it more difficult to turn, but it’s all about personal preference. A tumbler is recommended more highly because it acts as insulation and can be turned to provide aeration. Some tumblers even have aeration spikes that bring oxygen into the compost and prevent clumping. These usually speed up the compost process because the tumbler maintains a higher internal temperature year-round. Plus being fully enclosed…
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The SMSC Organics Recycling Facility accepts organic material all year long. In 2017, the SMSC Organics Recycling Facility received over 137,000 tons of material—equivalent to the weight of 9,133 semitrucks! You might be asking, where does all of this material come from? The SMSC Organics Recycling Facility takes in material from a variety of waste haulers, landscapers, municipalities, and residents every day, all year long. Here at the SMSC Organics Recycling Facility, we accept organic material. This means that the material must be carbon-based and will voluntarily break down under the right conditions. A good rule of thumb to know if something is organic or not is: “If it has been living in our lifetime, then it is organic.” This includes things like fruits, vegetables, logs, brush, weeds, food, etc. Types of Material Brought Into the Facility Multiple haulers bring in food waste from nearby communities, grocery stores, restaurants, and school districts in order to sustainably dispose of their organic waste at our facility. Grocery stores often send expired foods as well as fruits and vegetables that are past their prime. We also get table scraps from school lunchrooms and restaurants. In 2017 alone, the SMSC Organics Recycling Facility took…
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December 1, 2018

You’ve spent all summer admiring your lawn and enjoying its bounties, whether it was outdoor barbecues, camp-outs for the kids, or bonfires on crisp, midsummer nights. Although a snow-covered lawn is likely when you spend the least amount of time thinking about grass, there are a few tips and tricks you can do before and during the colder months to seed the way to a lush, green yard come spring. Winterizing Do’s • Do apply lawn fertilizer in early fall to help promote spring growth • Do save water by shutting off your sprinklers or irrigation during the colder months • Do keep trees and bushes healthy by removing decaying or dying branches • Do guard plants and shrubs with mulch—wait until the first hard freeze and add mulch to the base of plants about 2-4 inches deep and cover with soil • Do clean up your yard and add some of the brown yard waste (like leaves) to your compost pile for insulation Winterizing Don’ts • Don’t forget to rake and remove autumn leaves before the snow arrives • Don’t leave stagnant water sources around your yard—as soon as the weather cools, these are mosquito breeding grounds • Don’t…
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November 5, 2018

Compost is a rich soil amendment that is made from the process of organic matter breaking down. The most important thing to remember when using compost is that compost is a soil amendment, not a soil itself. Think of compost like a fertilizer—you wouldn’t want to plant your plants in straight fertilizer. Plan on tilling compost in with the first few inches of your existing soil. The amount of compost you need depends on your application. Compost can be used for establishment or maintenance of tree and shrubs, flower gardens, vegetable gardens, lawns, and more. Every project is different, but we will share some general usage guidelines with you. Using Compost For Gardening: A common use for compost is as a natural fertilizer in a garden. Compost adds organic matter and nutrients to depleted soils, which helps vegetable gardens and flower gardens flourish. When using compost to establish a brand new garden with nothing planted in it yet, you will need to add a higher volume of compost and till it into the soil. Compost should be spread evenly over the entire area at an average depth of 1-2 inches. Next, use a rotary tiller or shovel to incorporate the…
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The SMSC Organics Recycling Facility offers many products to help you create a beautiful, healthy-looking lawn and garden—no matter the time of year. The facility is open to the public Monday-Friday from 7am-5pm and on Saturdays from 8am-4pm. Come visit us anytime to pick up must-have products for your next project! The SMSC Organics Recycling Facility not only creates compost, but we also specialize in a variety of compost blends. Each blend has been carefully formulated for specific applications. Below we’ll highlight some of our best-selling products and the appropriate applications for them. Compost The first product we’ll talk about is compost, which is the base for all of our blends. We create compost on-site with the turned windrow composting method. From start to finish, creating compost at the SMSC Organics Recycling Facility generally takes 4-6 months. The finished product is screened to 1/2” fraction and is a great addition to many gardening projects. Compost is a soil amendment that is added to existing soils and treated like a natural fertilizer. Compost is not a soil itself and needs to be mixed in with existing soil. Some good uses for compost would include adding compost to an existing vegetable or…
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A large-scale composting operation, such as the one run by the SMSC Organics Recycling Facility, wouldn’t be possible without many different pieces of specialized equipment. Heavy machinery is used every day to move, grind, mix, turn, and screen the compost. We’d like to highlight a few of the machines that make our operation possible. Arguably the most important piece of equipment we have on-site is our Caterpillar 950M Front End Loader. We currently have four loaders on-site that are almost constantly in use. Front end loaders are essential for moving material in every step of the composting process—they load material into grinders and screeners, build and move windrows, and load customers with product for sale.   The first machine we use to get the composting process started is the Komptech Crambo 5000. The Crambo is a slow-speed machine that grinds all incoming food waste and yard waste. Once material arrives at our facility, it is scooped up by an operator and dumped into the top of the Crambo. The inside of this machine has sharp teeth on two rotating drums that turn at approximately 40 rpm (compared with other machines that turn at 800 rpm). Having a slow-speed grinder is…
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The SMSC Organics Recycling Facility is one of the largest composting operations in the state of Minnesota. Many nearby communities, grocery stores, restaurants, and school districts sustainably dispose of their organic waste at our facility. We take what might have been tossed in a landfill and instead create high-quality compost, compost blends, and mulch. Many of us have used compost in our gardens and yards, but have you ever wondered about the science behind what compost actually is and how it’s made? Today, we’d like to share with you a little bit of information about how the composting process happens, and how the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) is able to take waste material and recycle it into a valuable product. Let’s start by defining what compost is. Compost is organic material that decomposes into a rich soil amendment. Anything organic can be put into a compost pile to decompose. This includes items like fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, fur, hair, bones, paper, napkins, leaves, grass, and brush, to name just a few examples. If it was once living, it’s compostable. In order to become compost, these items must be mixed together according to a specific “compost recipe.” A compost recipe…
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