‘WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES,’ public-TV host Joe Lamp’l of “Growing a Greener World” said this week when we chatted on my radio show. Oh, isn’t that the truth. Thankfully the misstep Joe revealed—how he fell prey to “killer compost” that contained persistent herbicides—was offset by a look at the most enviable of vegetable-garden designs. How to build the ultimate raised-bed garden (wait until you see Joe’s new layout!) and how to avoid inadvertently bringing in compost or compost ingredients that can do more harm than good. A hint: Animal manures can be tricky business. [read more…]
A successful organic garden has its foundation in the compost heap. What to compost (and what to leave out of the compost bin), and how to manage the pile and use the finished compost are all covered here.
HOW CAN EVERY LAST SCRAP of goodness we’re all gathering during garden cleanup be put to optimal use? I asked Lee Reich, who joined me on this week’s radio show, to share strategic soil-improving, weed-thwarting, and future harvest-enhancing steps you can take now, as you put the garden to bed. Learn to compost smarter, prep your soil easily—and maybe win one of Lee’s books, too. That’s Lee with his trusty scythe, above, which doesn’t figure into composting but into how he cuts his meadow-like fields. Impressive, and mesmerizing! A couple of his great how-to videos on composting and soil prep are on the jump page, along with links to the audio of our conversation. [read more…]
MY LAWN GOT HAMMERED by 650 pairs of visiting feet, but I knew who to call. For almost a decade, I’ve turned with lawn-care issues to the work of Paul Tukey, author in 2007 of “The Organic Lawn Care Manual,” and founder of SafeLawns.org, an advocacy and education nonprofit. Paul just relocated from New England to his new post as Chief Sustainability Officer for Glenstone, a museum in Potomac, Maryland, where the vast grounds have been maintained since 2010 without synthetic chemical pesticides or fertilizers–a sort of living classroom for organic landscape stewardship. He answered our pressing questions on my latest public-radio show: controlling crabgrass and other weeds; reversing compaction; overseeding, and does corn gluten meal really work as a weed-and-feed? Read, or listen in. [read more…]
TELL THE TRUTH: Did you turn your heap before you piled on the fall’s bountiful offerings–before you cleaned up the tomato vines and the hostas, and raked all those precious leaves? Did you extract what was “finished” from down below, or–in a hurry–just cover it all up with incoming goodies? That’s my heap–30-plus feet long and about 6 wide right now and waist-high–and I confess, I was daunted. Next spring’s task will be even more heroic! A review of composting 101, with all your questions answered.