Soil and Compost

The Worm Factory 360 and The Earth Moved (With Video!)

March 21, 2012 124 comments
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When I first bought my own home years ago, there was one fact that made me particularly happy: as a responsible grownup and a homeowner, I was now allowed to get any pets that I darn well wanted, so long as I could take good care of them. No landlords or reluctant parents to tell […]

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Guest Post: Want Happy Plants? Feed the Microbes!

February 23, 2012 10 comments
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Five Ways To Improve The Health And Diversity Of Your Soil Food Web: A guest post by Phil Nauta, The Smiling Gardener. Most of the work in our gardens is done by the “soil food web.” If you’re not familiar with this term, it refers to the inhabitants of the soil, including plants and animals, […]

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Thick Rind on Meyer Lemons: How to Fix It

February 12, 2012 0 comments
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The reason all of us foodie gardeners grow Meyer lemons is that their thin skins and delectable flavor surpass the acidic pulp and thick white rind of the grocery store Eureka or Lisbon lemons. Yet there are two common garden conditions that make Meyer lemons taste more acidic, develop thick bumpy white rinds, and have […]

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Cheap Soil Testing: How and Why To Do It

January 19, 2011 13 comments
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One of the best things about writing for this site is that occasionally, other gardeners will write in with their excellent garden tips. This was the case with Kathy Ormiston, a landscape designer and landscape gardener in the San Francisco Bay Area (south bay region). Kathy was kind enough to share a tip about an […]

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Worm Compost: A Fictional FAQ for Vermicomposting

June 17, 2010 9 comments
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I’ve gotten a few questions lately about vermicomposting -composting in a small bin using worms. Folks seem to know that worm castings rock, and they are really expensive to buy. Other folks want worms for fishing. And still others just want a simple way of keeping their veggie scraps out of the landfill. So I […]

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The GroundHog Rake: A Video Review, and Why I Love it for Mulching

May 6, 2010 4 comments
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This time of year, I’m adding a fresh layer of bark mulch to many of my gardens to hold moisture in and keep the weeds down. Right now it’s especially easy to do because the plants are still small from winter dormancy, so I can spread it out without having to bend and wiggle to […]

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Your Gardening Body: How to Scoop Mulch and Use a Wheelbarrow Without Strain or Pain

December 31, 2009 4 comments
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Anne Asher, a movement specialist from The MOVE! Blog, has been kind enough to answer some common questions about how professional and/or passionate gardeners can reduce the strain that comes from repetitive gardening tasks. Check out her new product – great for winter time – called Clear the Blear. Here’s this month’s installment: Dear Anne, […]

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Fall Leaves: Leave ‘Em and Weep

December 5, 2009 5 comments
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To read about why fall leaves are so beneficial to wildlife, and how to leave them in your garden without adverse effect, check out this article: Fall Leaf Raking: Finding the Middle Ground. Once upon a time some newbie garden writer thought it’d be a great idea to encourage people to leave their fall leaves on the […]

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Calculating How Much Mulch or Compost You Need

November 21, 2009 2 comments
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So your garden’s mulch is getting thin, and you’ve decided that you want to add 2 inches of wood chips to top it up. Great! But how much mulch do you need to buy to make that happen? You can do this using math (yuck!), or you can use these great calculators I’ve found online. […]

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Rubber Mulch: Where the Rubber Meets the – Soil?

October 2, 2009 14 comments
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At Costco recently, I was happy to see some acquaintances coming out of the garden section, until… what in the WORLD was in their cart? It looked like bags of mulch, but… wrong somehow. They patiently explained to this landscaper that recycled rubber mulch is the newest thing and would look very pretty in their […]

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