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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

 

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