Compost Heat

Q. I am building a compost heap for the first time this fall. How hot does it have to get in order to kill fungi, insect eggs or other pests that may be on the garden debris?

Composting rhubarb leaves

Q: Is it safe to compost rhubarb leaves?

A: Yes. Although the leaves of rhubarb plants contain a high level of oxalic acid and should not be eaten, they are safe to add to the compost pile. The oxalic acid degrades rapidly in the pile and has no impact on compost quality.

Using fallen leaves in the garden

Q. How can I use fallen tree leaves in my garden?

A. Shredded leaves can be used to insulate various plants in the garden during the cold winter months. When leaves are used whole they can prevent water from penetrating the root zones of plants; therefore, it is important to shred them first. If only a small amount is needed, whole leaves can easily be shredded in a garbage can using a weed whacker. It is always a good idea to wear safety goggles when using a weed whacker. If a larger amount is needed, a lawn mower can be used.