Compost Education

Posted on 14th November 2012 in Uncategorized

Is the Duck Truck specialty! Alexis is a certified teacher in the State of CT and is super passionate about compost and soil! She has given multiple workshops on compost and vermiculture (worm composting) for audiences of five – 35 people. As an avid composter at her own house, she knows how important the education piece is and is determined to save the planet one yard at a time, if necessary! Call for a consultation, or just to chat! 203-494-8342.

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That Urbanminers Workshop…

Posted on 14th November 2012 in Uncategorized

What a FUN day we had at Urbanminers on Saturday the 10th! We talked shop – gardens, soil, aesthetics, fasteners, wood size and made grand plans for spring! Get to Urbanminers quick before we sell all the great salvaged lumber for other peoples garden beds! It was really nice to share ideas over apple cider and to teach other women how to use a drill and discuss the merits of lighter hammers for smaller hands. The M&M cookies weren’t too shabby either while we designed triangular garden beds that will appear  diamond shaped when set butt-to-butt. All in all a good time to hang out, teach and learn. I’m sorry you missed it!

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Fall Garden Beds…

Posted on 10th November 2012 in Uncategorized

Garden Bed Assembly

Select appropriate location in your yard for your garden bed. If it’s for vegetables, most plants like FULL SUN. In CT this is 8+ hours of direct sun each day, starting at 10 AM.

Select the shape of the garden bed; square, rectangle, octagon, and decide on the dimensions. Keep in mind that you only need one 4 foot X 4 foot section, per person, to feed that person through the growing season. Larger beds, or more square footage, mean you’ll have “extra” food to share with framily or to “put up” for winter and spring.

Cut boards to appropriate lengths. If you’re super-anal about dimensions, remember a bed that’s built with 4’x8’ boards will be 3-4 inches smaller for the inside dimension. You’ll have to add two inches to two side boards to maintain the desired interior dimension. It’s really not that important.

Fasten boards to one another. There are three basic ways to assemble your beds.
1. Fasten board ends to one another.
2. Fasten boards to a corner wedge. Corner wedges can be made from whatever scrap you have. the chunkier, the sturdier though!
3. Fasten boards to a corner wedge that has been sunk into the ground. Chunky, sunky corner wedges are usually 4”x4”.

Any way you do it, pre-drill holes in older lumber to help prevent splitting.

Acquire 1 cubic yard of compost per 32 square feet of garden bed. Compost is available at Common Ground, 358 Springside Avenue, New Haven, Connecticut 06515, 203-389-4333, ext. 217. Or arrange a delivery with Duck Truck Composting (DTC).
Purchase prices for various amounts are:

  • Unscreened tractor loaded: $10 per bucket full (2-3 buckets fill a mid-sized     pick-up)
  • Load your own pickup: $15
  • Bagged screened compost – $6/bag or 2 for $10
  • Load your own bags or buckets (unscreened) – $5 bag/bucket

Two ways to fill your bed…
1. Till existing soil. Add compost, till in with existing soil. Add compost, till in with existing soil/compost. Add compost, till in with existing soil/compost/compost, until all the compost is tilled in with the existing soil. You may hire DTC to till and fill! (Fall, Spring, or Summer)

2. Put down a thick layer of pizza and other cardboard boxes and/or black and white newspaper and put your compost directly on top of that! (Fall or Super Early Spring) The thickness layer depends on how late in spring you’re doing this.

The newspaper will keep down weeds, add organic matter to your soil, and draw earthworms to your garden bed. They really dig this stuff! Ba-dum-bah!

Now is also a good time to START MAKING YOUR OWN COMPOST!!! See other handouts that Alexis has!

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And a Good Time was Had by All…

Posted on 8th November 2012 in Uncategorized

…at the Bethany Land Trust compost program tonight! 28 folks braved the post-weather roads to hang out at the Lakeview Lodge and be regaled with more compost info than they bargained for! One guy even mentioned “THAT was worth coming out here tonight!” Don’t remember which useful tidbit it was, it might have been my revealing to him that he is a SHEET COMPOSTER. He replied that by composting his sheep’s contributions that he’s a SHEEP SHEET COMPOSTER. Then he added that if it weren’t for the presence of the girl scout troop, he’d have a PG-13 way to describe what he’s really got goin’ on, as in he’s a “SHEEP SH*T SHEET COMPOSTER.” We played with worms, discussed the social lack of acceptance of Humanure Composting, talked about compost varmints and made compost cups! Here are some lovely pics of the evening, and the construction of a compost cup! Thanks to Joshua Dembsky for inviting me to teach!

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Salt in Your Soil After Hurricane?

Posted on 7th November 2012 in Uncategorized

Salt Water Contamination of Soils by Hurricane Sandy

Many coastal Connecticut residents have contacted the University of Connecticut Soil Nutrient Analysis Laboratory because of their concerns of salt contamination from either flooding or storm surges. The amount of damage done to plants will depend on the salinity of the water, how long the plants were in contact with it, and also, to some extent on plant species. The best way to counteract the desiccation caused by salts is to leach them out with fresh water. With more rain in the forecast for later this week, the salt problem may be taken care of in sandy, well-drained soils. Greatest problems for plants are those situated in low lying, poorly drained or heavily flooded areas and even with more rain, there is no place for the salts to go. In all likelihood, plants in these areas will die, the salts will leach out eventually over the winter and the area would need to be replanted next spring. Gypsum is not especially effective except in limited circumstances. The lab does offer testing of soluble salt levels. For more information, call us at (860) 486-4274 or visit<>. Another issue to consider besides salt, is the possibility for contamination from septic systems, water treatment plants, businesses, industry and waste sites. Testing for these types of materials is more difficult and costly.

Contact: Dawn Pettinelli
UConn Soil Nutrient Analysis Laboratory<

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