Get the Dirt on Compost—the Soil and Water Connection

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Provided by Prince William County

Prince William County Seal

The Prince William County Solid Waste Division will host its annual Compost Awareness Day on April 30 from 10:00 a. m. to 2:00 p. m. at the Balls Ford Road Compost Facility. The day will feature two presentations, “From the Ground Up”, by celebrity gardener Lisa Ziegler of the Gardener’s Workshop Farm, at 11:00 a. m. and 1:00 p. m.

During “From the Ground Up”, Ziegler will share the organic techniques she uses to achieve bountiful harvests of cut flowers. “From the Ground Up” includes the practices that are at the root of the success and beauty of her flower farm; starting from seed and caring for the soil as the most precious gem.

Ziegler reveals the organic steps she follows to prepare the garden for abundant growth and low-maintenance. Learn how to start seeds and your garden soil organically. Program includes how to plant seeds directly in the garden and starting indoors using the English method soil blocking.

For those who want to grow organically and to have choices beyond what is available at the local garden center—seed starting is essential and easy with a few ground rules to follow.

Lisa shares her simple, non-back breaking steps to jumpstarting your soil—no matter the challenges you face. Learn the steps to continue building the soil to make it more self-sufficient with each passing season.

Additionally, local Prince William Master Gardener Amanda Caswell will share the secrets to beautiful floral and edible container gardens. Attendees can see how containers add instant impact to garden spaces, inside and out at 10:30 a. m. and 12:30 p. m.

Other event activities include:


  • Composting exhibits and environmental information
  • Compost and Compost bin sales
  • Plant sales-local schools
  • Keep Prince William Beautiful
  • City of Manassas Refuse and Recycling
  • Prince William County Mosquito and Forest Pest Management
  • Prince William County Environmental Services
  • Prince William Conservation Alliance
  • Prince William Soil and Water Conservation District
  • PWC Service Authority
  • Prince William County Environmental Management System
  • Plant NoVA Natives
  • Door prizes

The event promotes backyard composting, which is recycling of leaves, grass and garden waste instead of sending this organic material to the County landfill for disposal. In addition to learning how to compost, residents can also find out how compost helps build healthy soil and enrich degraded soil in yards and gardens. As well as discover the positive effects compost has on the environment. For example, it reduces or eliminates the need for fertilizers, which can be harmful to ground water and composting also saves landfill space. Yard waste is more than 13% of the waste stream in Prince William County, so composting is an important component of the County’s waste management strategy.

Event attendees can also save money. Coupons good for $5.00 off the cost of a pick-up load of compost or mulch will be available. Compost bins will also be available for sale for $25/each (limit three per household while supplies last).

Prince William Compost Awareness Day supports International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW), the largest and most comprehensive education initiative of the compost industry. ICAW supports composting efforts in the back yard or at large scale commercial composting facilities, like the County’s Balls Ford Road site. This year’s theme is Compost—the Soil and Water Connection. ICAW is held annually the first full week of May. The International Compost Awareness Committee chose this year’s theme to bring attention to the role of compost in healthy soil to address growing drought and food insecurity issues across the world.

For a schedule of events at Prince William Compost Awareness Day, visit


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