What can be added to the flower bed in front of our home to loosen up the soil?
Any organic matter is good to loosen a heavy soil. Make use of compost from the garbage, grass clippings, and leaves.
A friend of ours adds 2 to 3 feet of leaves every year and has better crops than anyone in his area.
Rotted manure is good if you can get it. Shredded newspapers (not the colored pages, however) are dandy, and the Kinsman Garden Company, Point Pleasant, Pa., puts out a helpful little shredder.
Recently I saw the address of an organization which is dedicated to nut growing. Would you know what it is? Also, may I have your comments on the practicality of growing Chinese chestnuts in our three-quarter-acre yard?
Chinese chestnuts are attractive for shade as well as delectable nuts. You have plenty of space for two trees or more. You need two, in fact, for cross-pollination, unless your neighbor has one.
We have good crops here in central New York State and also have seen them growing in the Pacific Northwest, New England (not Maine), and southern Ontario. Nurseries in your area (the Midwest) handle them, some as far south as Georgia.
We suggest you get trees from nurseries nearest you. Also, there's a fine article about them in the August issue of Organic Gardening magazine by Mark Kane.
The nut-growing organization we're most familiar with is Northern Nut Growers , care of John English, RR 3, Bloomington, Ind. 61701.
[Ed. note: In July, Doc and Katy Abraham responded to an inquiry that requested a source for old-fashioned roses. They gave the address of Roses of Yesterday and Today, Brown's Valley Road, Watsonville, Calif. 95076. A letter from Patricia Stemler Wiley expresses appreciation for the response from our readers, but adds: ''We will sincerely appreciate it if you will mention to your readers that there is a $2 charge for our catalog. It will save us correspondence and will save your readers delay and disappointment.'']