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Showing posts from March, 2010

From the Composting Pit

As Thomas Friedman dourly notes in Hot, Flat and Crowded, the eco/green movement is less a movement than it is a block party.

Karen and I (Jeannette) drifted into the party a few years ago when we dipped our toes into composting. We went to a Department of Public Works composting workshop at Griffith Park, which was a hilarious presentation with an interesting audience.

Thinking that it was better to give it a try before we sunk a lot of money into an official composter, we purchased two black garbage cans and spare utility knife blades. We cut the bottoms out of the cans and cut triangular holes all around the sides (triangles were the easiest shape to cut).  We dug two holes in her yard utility area and put the open ended cans into the dirt. Voila, a duet of composting.

Composting is challenging when it's fed from from the kitchens of two single women. Karen can walk her compost out the back door. I collect mine in a lovely can with charcoal filters in its lid on my kitchen coun…

The Adventure Begins

Actually, the adventure took root a year ago in a 10-foot by 12-foot plot in Karen's backyard. Karen and I (Jeannette) have spent a couple of years nurturing a pair of recalcitrant DIY compost bins, always believing that one day we'd move the compost over to the plot and start a garden.

Karen had been intensively cultivating yarrow in the plot. She spent a spring digging and amending the plot. We'd both planted a few things that hadn't survived snails, summer heat and erratic watering. But last year, the whole thing came together. Karen's gardener rototilled it.  Kate, Karen and I dug up wandering yucca plant and magnolia tree roots. We added steer manure and a variety of soil amendments as they tickled our fancies.

Soon we had a tomato jungle, climbing beans, Turkish eggplants, mutant carrots and three radishes. Until we put in nasturtiums and zinnias, all efforts at flowers failed.  (Perhaps decades old seeds aren't viable . . . )  Our most productive plant w…