Compost Blog

Simple Sunflower

FOUND IN: Community, Floral Design on June 16, 2014



They say everything about this moment. Summer. Hot. Home.




Pair them with a friend of opposite texture. River Oats.




Simple is ready for the party to begin................



Pickling Spring

FOUND IN: Community, The Farm on June 03, 2014


The crates sat full against the kitchen wall. The morning harvest started at 6a.m. with onions, cauliflower, carrots, yellow squash and garlic filling the open void. We would begin at ten. At 9:30, I received the text, asking my location. "I'm still harvesting and have thirty minutes," I exclaimed.




I remember watching this as a kid. Mother canned each summer and filled the pantry with glass jars. It didn't make sense then, but we would be self-sufficient come winter. We did not know the word "sustainability" back then. Communal instincts and good friends were making this reality come alive once more.


Hot brine, ladled from a silver cup steamed as it met with blanched vegetables. The multiple layers will be vegetarian ravioli in October. You Can Can............


Coming Home to City Roots

FOUND IN: Community, Education, The Farm on August 19, 2012

Entrance sign to City Roots.

I met the McClam clan in Charleston a few weeks ago at a local L.I.M.E. event. They are the new generation of farmers responsible for starting City Roots in 2009. We think we have an idea what farming is all about. The McClam family is learning it as they go daily. Eric McClam, the Farm Manager, has had a heavy hand in their farm's development. Talking with him,was like talking to someone who you know has dirt under their fingernails even before you see them.  I had to invite myself for a farm visit and he obliged.

Cucumbers hang on vines in the blistering heat of a Columbia, SC summer afternoon.

The farm is not far from my first home. I could have walked there.  Located in the Rosewood section of Columbia, near the tiny airport, it sits on City of Columbia property, leased to this family. Their mission: to produce clean, healthy, sustainably grown products while enhancing and educating the community about the benefits of locally grown food, composting, vermicomposting and other environmentally friendly farming practices.  It gets to the heart of why I'm moving in this direction.


They make a living on 3 acres. You won't see Norman Rockwell or feel moved to paint the landscape we romanticize so often when thinking about today's farm experience. They have weeds. There are tomato plants screaming for the compost pile. Rows of healthy basil need to find a home. The opportunities Eric described are no different than we are all having as we try our hand at one of this world's oldest professions.


The tractor is plowing under a cover crop which adds needed organic matter back into the soil.

It felt good to talk about the challenges. It has been a little lonely making my way in this unfamiliar place. The reassurance comes at a good time. Eric is an educator, sharing what he knows with people like me. We never stop giving and taking in that respect. Eric is an open book. From favorite tools to post harvest techniques, the information is forthcoming. He does not understand how important this is to someone like me right now.

Microgreens are grown year round in greenhouses.

As I wandered around the farm alone, taking pictures and making notes, it occurred to me just how generous they are to share this place. A lady came in a day late from picking up her weekly farm share.  Eric does not miss a step as he greets her, forcing two bright yellow sunflowers in her hand as this week's beautiful gift.


I felt like I had been given one. Thanks Eric!

Bused Into the Bronx

FOUND IN: Community, Education, Garden Design, The Farm on August 22, 2011
A community farm surrounded on all sides by transit. Buses, cars and trains provide an urban hum while the gardens are tended by locals at La Finca Del Sur.

Like kids on a school day, we were shuffled into yellow buses. With knees gouging the seat in front, I imagined the days when fitting comfortably in this tiny space might have been possible.

Today's field trip was being organized by the American Community Gardening Association as a part of the 32nd Annual Conference being held at Columbia University's Manhattan campus. Our assignment would bring us to the Bronx. I'd never been there, so the idea of traipsing on new ground looking at their community gardens peaked my interest. There were amazing things happening in challenging situations. The people we met had vision, believed in the power of their communities and realized that the garden could make it all happen.

Rainwater collection systems were the norm at almost all the sites we visited. Notice how the roof is tied into the gutter and runs through pipes to the collection tank.
A Tats Cru mural colors a small community garden as a part of The Point, a community youth development center in the South Bronx. The mural is one of many as this is also Tats Cru's headquarters.
Most gardens get their city water from a hydrant on the street.
A conference participant eyes a plot through the decorative enclosure.
The garden oasis known as El Flamboyan Community Garden has many different nationalities represented, making it a melting pot for interesting growing techniques and vegetable varieties. All were surrounded by neighborhood highrise housing.
Bees and chickens were found in several gardens. Barriers were not used to keep anyone away from the bee hives. Local children's groups assisted in monitoring the hive activity and harvesting honey. We were told fruit tree production had escalated since the bees were introduced into the garden.

I Hate Saying Goodbye

FOUND IN: Community, Education on July 26, 2011
The girls pine for the perfect shot while admiring the bright red Monarda in the Bellevue Botanical Garden

The Seattle Garden Bloogers Fling ended like they all do. Business cards are exchanged. Open arms lead to heartfelt hugs. We tell each other how great it was seeing you again.

But best of all, I don't have to say goodbye.

Not only do I not have to say it, more likely than not, it just wouldn't make much sense.

We're all garden bloggers. All gardeners. All computer competent. And all enjoy talking about it.

Posting keeps us connected.

Comments remind us that someone will talk back.

And it happens more than once a year.

A beautiful bouquet is made while visiting the West Seattle Farmers Market.
Locally grown produce from farms in the area shows the variety Seattle has to offer.

A sitting area designed with reclaimed items in Lorene Edwards Forkner's garden. Check out here new book called Handmade Garden Projects coming out soon!

Purple is taken to new heights in this composition at the Farley garden.

The Olympic Sculpture Parkis beautifully sighted on the banks overlooking Puget Sound. This is Bunyon's Chess by Mark di Suvero.

One of the areas most phenomenal gardens, The Bloedel Reserve is located on Bainbridge Island.
The cool, moist conditions foster layers of moss to grow on anything sedentary throughout the acres of natural land at The Bloedel Reserve.
Dragonfly Farms is a display garden and retail plant nursery located on Bainbridge Island.

The egg-like sculptures are just one of many different pieces of art displayed in the Dragonfly Farms gardens.

An arbor made from chain seems to be magically floating.