Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

Support the plant database you love!

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

Yucca blades damaged by weedeater in Hellertown PA
July 05, 2011 - Can I cut off the blades of a Yucca plant that have been eaten on the edges with a weed wacker and are very unsightly looking? Can they be cut back to the flower shaft?
view the full question and answer

Black-eyed Susans in potting soil on ground
November 12, 2010 - I would like to know if black eyed susans can be planted in just potting soil instead of mixing it in with dirt from the ground? I don't want to leave it in the pots. I want to plant it, but the grou...
view the full question and answer

Loss of bloom on Fremontodendron californicum in California
June 11, 2009 - The flowers on my Flannel Bush all died at once I have noticed a sappy substance at the base of the trunk. There are still some flowers on bush but most are dead. It has been blooming since Feb. Is ...
view the full question and answer

Replacing mature Arizona Ash trees in Austin
August 26, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I have 2 very large, very old Arizona Ash trees in my yard. I want to remove them and replace them with something like Cedar Elm or Chinquapin Oak. The problem is that they are t...
view the full question and answer

Can hackberry twigs and leaves be safely used in compost?
March 05, 2009 - If Hackberry trees and leaves have growth inhibiting compounds, should they not be used in compost piles?
view the full question and answer

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