Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - February 18, 2008

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch
Title: Instructions for composting in southeast Texas
Answered by: Stephen Brueggerhoff and Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Do you ever offer composting classes? I live in Houston and would like to start composting in my backyard... are there any particular books you would recommend for composting in SE TX? Thank you!

ANSWER:

While our workshop series focuses on basic horticultural knowledge, we have yet to tackle an entire class involved with composting; and, believe me, there is a science AND art to composting successfully. However, you should have the tools and resources close to home available to you. I recommend contacting your local Harris County Cooperative Extension agent's office. There is a strong presence of the Master Gardener's (a program supported by the Texas Cooperative Extension Agency) in your county, so definitely hook up with them.

We would also like to recommend a few Internet sites with information about composting:

1. The City of Austin has simple, straightforward instructions for getting started with composting.

2. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service also has a very informative site.

3. There is a very interesting discussion on composting by Journey to Forever.

4. Finally, if you want to know about The Science and Engineering of Composting, Cornell University has a thorough discussion.

For print sources, here are a couple of books recommended by members of our Mr. Smarty Plants group:

Secrets to Great Soil by Elizabeth Stell

Let it Rot! The Gardener's Guide to Composting by Stu Campbell

 

More Compost and Mulch Questions

What is composted mulch from Springfield IL
July 01, 2010 - I love the look of hard wood mulch. It is my understanding that this wood mulch that is so readily available in bulk and bags is not "composted mulch". I have been told that this type of mulch pull...
view the full question and answer

Pine bark on non-native St. Augustine grass in Kingwood TX
May 12, 2010 - I had two large Pine trees cut down. In the process of cutting the trees down there is a lot of pine bark from the tree on my St Augustine grass. Will this affect the growth of my grass?
view the full question and answer

Feeding live oak and redbud trees from Fredericksburg TX
October 23, 2012 - Can you please tell me what to feed my live oak and texas redbud trees that survived the drought? We have granite soil.
view the full question and answer

Spreading compost from Kyle TX
January 22, 2012 - I'm trying to find if there is some type of "implement" to help spread compost in my yard that is easier than a shovel and rake. Any ideas?
view the full question and answer

Will wood shavings in the soil require nitrogen from Charleston MO
May 04, 2011 - I cut down a big maple tree and a lot of the wood shavings was left in the soil. I planted a flower bed over the area this spring. I later read that the wood chips in the soil would use a lot of nitro...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.