Tag: compost

Free Compost For Chicago-area Gardeners

Did you know that the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) is giving away high-quality compost?┬áMaybe you did, but I sure didn’t. The compost is made from wood chips, leaves, grass clippings, and biosolids derived from water reclamation.

Confessions of a Leaf Thief

Some people think that the proper way to tidy up the yard for fall is to rake or blow every single leaf into giant brown bags from Home Depot, said bags to be taken away by the city. This makes me insane. I mean, what a waste. Good soil needs organic matter. Leaves turn into …

The Brown, Brown Stalks of Spring

As I have noted before, I am of the camp that believes in letting perennials stand over winter, then cleaning up in spring. It tends to be better for the birds, the plants, and the beneficial insects. Some people say it looks messy. They may have a point, but I prefer messy to bare frozen …

A Compost Post

On Sunday I observed the bi-annual Changing of the Compost Bins. That means two things. First, that I will empty one bin of its more or less finished compost. And second, that the other bin will receive no more lemon rinds or slimy lettuce, and should consider itself under strict orders to start decomposing in …

Adventures in Soil Testing

So I’ve been taking a class called “Soil Basics” at the Chicago Botanic Garden. The instructor is Ellen Phillips, who has many years experience as a soil scientist in the US and overseas. (She’s an excellent teacher, and I recommend the class for those of you in the area.) As part of the class we …