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Brewing good soil

The District 8 Garden Clubs of Illinois' "Good vs. Evil" garden, based on the musical "Wicked," includes many good tips about composting, beekeeping and how to create wildlife-friendly gardens. We were especially taken by the fluffy light brown mulch, which at first glance appeared to be leaf mold. Nope: It's coffee chaff, the husks of coffee beans, a byproduct of roasting at Chicago's Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea. It makes a great soil amendment or compost ingredient as well as mulch, says Nancy Block of the Garden Clubs. If you want to find out how to get this stuff for free, e-mail Block: NancyBlock09@comcast.net. (She says they also have large clear plastic bags and burlap bags, and large amounts of coffee grounds.) Joel Wintermantle, Chicago Tribune
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