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Vancouver, British Columbia is one of my favorite cities on the planet, having attended Simon Fraser University in the mid 1970s. Located in a glorious water-mountain setting three hours north of Seattle, you can't find a friendlier city. After landing in the airport, I hopped on a city bus only to discover I didn't have the correct change.
"No problem," said the driver. "I'll take you to the hotel at the next stop where you can buy a cup of coffee and get some change." When I returned, he refused my thank-you tip and smiled. "Nah, just have a great time while you're here."
In downtown Vancouver, it's easy to find greenery. Rooftop gardens are becoming the norm on office buildings and condominiums, apple trees are planted along sidewalks, and the urban landscapes are so beautifully maintained, they regularly host weddings -- all in an urban environment that's the third mostly densely populated in North America, following New York and San Francisco.
And with all those people, you can expect challenges. Take dogs, for example. As with any dog, what goes in, must come out. Yes, we're talking dog poop, and how to dispose of it.
Mike Levenston at City Farmer, a demonstration garden and compost site run by Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture in Vancouver, B.C. lives in the city and has a dog. I met with Mike at the City Farmer garden, and over a sprout-filled sandwich, we chatted about worm composting and composting dog waste. Gardeners have no fear when it comes to discussing most anything, anytime.
"People obviously love their dogs," he said, "but it's a big problem worldwide. You can see people picking up after their dog, and then wondering what do with it."
After lunch, we strolled over to the fence at the edge of the demonstration garden. I peered down at a green, plastic garbage lid sitting on the ground. It was decorated with pink flowers and a cartoon dog. The words "Dog Waste Composter" encircled the dog.
What About Urine in the Garden?
The solution, says Mike, is to compost dog waste in yard, using a old plastic garbage can. The folks at City Farmer developed the method, which is one of the most popular tips on the cityfarmer.org web site. The technique provides "a chance where people can have it slowly decompose in a yard and be environmentally safe."
Here's a step-by-step description:
According to the www.cityfarmer.org web site, "Within 48 hours, the septic tank starter, (which is non-caustic and promotes natural bacterial growth) will have begun its work and you can add more dog doo. You can then begin to add it daily. This waste biodegrades and flows into the subsoil."
Mike adds that you should not put the composted dog waste in your garden.
While burying a garbage can to compost dog waste might seem like overkill if you live near the woods or close to a patch of blackberry bushes, but when you think about it, why not contain the waste in a more environmentally-friendly manner?
By the way, if you know someone that lives in a city, the www.cityfarmer.org web site is loaded with all kinds of helpful urban agriculture tips.
Thanks for visiting and please stop by again. I'll put the coffee on!
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