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Nat Stein holds a handful of bokashi above a bin at the compost drop-off at the Westside Community Center. Bokashi, a type of fermentation, is used as a Japanese composting method. “Not only do we get to keep food waste out of the landfill, but we also now get to put it into our soil and get vegetables from it,” said gardener Richard Mee.

How does your garden grow? If it’s anything like mine this summer, weirdly. Some stuff grew. Other stuff turned alien-like. I’m going with possible soil issues, and not my mad gardening skills. You can pick up a soil test kit from Colorado State University Extension Office. Take it home, dig up some dirt and mail it to the Fort Collins campus, where a lab will do an analysis. Kits are free, though if you pick up more than three, it’s $5 per kit, and the soil test is $35. The office is at 17 N. Spruce St., and open 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; 520-7690, elpaso.extension.colostate.edu/soil-test-kits.

Contact the writer: 636-0270

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