Entries by Lynn Lucas

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Does composting need a puppetmaster?

Does composting need a puppetmaster? For far too long, composting was relegated to a position on the fringe of waste management, despite the fact that 70% of the world’s wastes are compostable. Composters, quite literally, had to wait for someone else to feed them the leftovers. A major chunk of composting’s potential feedstocks (yard waste, […]

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Can I sell my backyard compost?

Can I sell my backyard compost? From time to time, a backyard composting enthusiast poses the question: Can I sell my backyard compost?  Unfortunately, the answer is complicated.  Switching from the backyard to the commercial world is like shifting the preparation of a plate of spaghetti from a home kitchen to a 120-seat Italian restaurant […]

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FAQ: Should I use compost or topsoil to establish a new lawn?

FAQ:  Should I use compost or topsoil to establish a new lawn? Mixing compost with native soil makes topsoil.  So instead of either/or, when you use compost to establish a new lawn, you get both. Simply incorporate the compost into the top few inches of in situ soil according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.   (Click here for McGill’s […]

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Are you watering with tap water?

Are you watering with tap water? City water contains chlorine and chlorine kills microbes – both good and bad.  Will watering plants with tap water kill the beneficial microbes delivered through compost use?   Chlorine, chloramine, fluoride, and salts are used to treat city and household water systems.  None of them are beneficial to plants, […]

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FAQ: What causes acid soil?

FAQ:  What causes acid soil and how can I fix it? The leaching action of rainwater, CO2 from organic decomposition, and oxidation of constituents in fertilizers all contribute to the formation of acid soil. While some plants, like rhododendrons and blueberries, prefer an acid soil, most do not.  But acid soil can be fixed. Back […]

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Minecraft composters – a sign of things to come?

Minecraft composters – a sign of things to come? Did you know there is a composter block in the popular videogame, Minecraft?  Minecraft composters have been available for a couple of years, though the unit is something of a Rumpelstiltskin model.  While the composter doesn’t spin organics into gold, it does turn food waste (no meat) […]

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FAQ: What is the best garden soil to buy?

FAQ:  What is the best garden soil to buy? The best garden soil you can purchase isn’t soil at all, but compost.  Adding compost to your existing soil is actually cheaper than buying soil, and it offers so much more than dirt. As little as 1/8 to 1/4 inch of compost incorporated into the top […]

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FAQ: Use potting soil for raised beds?

FAQ:  Can I use potting soil for raised beds? Using potting soil for raised beds is not so much a question of whether you can, but whether you should.  A product designed for a raised bed, added to a very large container, might work.  But the inverse is not advised. Like many things in life, “one size […]

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FAQ: How does compost help soil?

FAQ:  How does compost help soil? Most of compost’s benefit comes from its organic matter content, i.e., decaying plants and animals.  This organic matter contains the carbon, nutrients, and beneficial microbes that make compost the perfect amendment for so many soil types.  How does compost help soil? Compost is about 50-60% organic matter on a […]

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FAQ: When is the best time to add compost?

FAQ: When is the best time to add compost? Anytime is a good time to add compost.  Fall, spring, mid-season – every growing space can benefit from the boost of soil microbes and organic matter. Is one timing option better than another? A quick scan of gardening articles and blogs seems to indicate a slight […]