2013-09-14 / Editorials & Letters

How to keep nutrients out of the lake


As fall approaches, what can you do to help keep nutrients out of Buckeye Lake? Most folks will collect the fallen leaves and grass clippings and dispose of them by some means, but we ask that you don’t put them in the nearby ditch, stream or lake. Mulch them directly onto your lawn if there are not too many of them or make compost out of them to use next year for your flower beds.

Did you have a vegetable garden this year? What can you do with that bare patch where your corn, tomatoes and beans once stood? Try cover crops! Some refer to these plantings as “green manure” because they help hold phosphorus and nitrogen in your soil and reduce what leaches out of your soil or runs off your land into the stream or nearby lake. They also help reduce erosion from wind and water by anchoring the soil down with a living root. They increase organic material in your garden and the earthworms will love that.

Typically gardeners will apply buckwheat, clovers, or other cereal grains like rye. According to the Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheets, cereal rye and barley are seeded at a rate of 1/3 lb. per 100 sq. ft. of garden area. Ryegrass is a suitable soil cover crop, but should be seeded before September 15 for best results. It is seeded at a rate of 3 oz. per 100 sq. ft. or 1 and 1/2 to 2 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft. If you are not able to kill the cover crop before it gets too tall it will be difficult to handle. For more information, please contact your County OSU Extension Office.

We hope you will consider this little step as we seek to improve the water quality of Buckeye Lake for future generations.

Jonathan Ferbrache, Resource Specialist
Fairfield Soil and Water Conservation District

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