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Troy believed in feeding the soil, not the plants, so he practiced "sheet composting," which doesn't involve special containers that need to be turned, timed, etc. Instead, he took ordinary food preperation scraps (no meat, bones, oil, dairy products or fat), cut them into small pieces, then shoveled them into different sites in his garden throughout the year. Troy said, "If you dig it up about two weeks later, there's nothing left."

Things to "sheet" compost:

  • Any fruits or vegetables, including peels, rinds and seeds
  • Egg shells and coffee grounds (including filters & tea bags)
  • Red worms (leave whole)

Mulch (spread on top of soil in your garden to prevent evaporation of water):

  • Grass and leaves (if you don't use chemicals) — adds nitrogen to the soil — very beneficial for your plants and soil.
  • Hay


The most common problem folks have with their tomato plants is over watering. If you have good sun for at least six hours a day and your flowers fall off of your plants before they can become tiny tomatoes, you're probably over watering, or it's colder than 52 degrees at night. Tomatoes like "dry feet" — moist soil, but not soggy, and warm weather!

Tomato problems

Palo Alto, California

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