A Compost We Will Grow

Pumpkin Seedlling with seed attached

What the well dressed pumpkin seedlings are wearing this season.

I popped the lid off the green compost bin and oh, what a surprise.

Along side the rotting leaves and decaying kitchen scraps, there is a lot of growing going on. The first thing I noticed: the pumpkins! They’re enjoying the warmth and shelter inside the bin. I’m surprised though that they’ve found enough light. Will you look at them growing so tall and straight?

Lanky blades of grass are also taking root, along with sprouts of a to-be-determined nature.  I’m using an old Rubbermaid bin for additional composting, since I quickly filled my tumbling composter.  It’s hard to get leverage with the shovel, however, so I’m not turning it as often as I should. Now I don’t have the heart.

Pumpkin Sprout

Happy Sprout

Mushrooms in compost

Finding Nemo?

Sprouting mushrooms are right at home, the more predictable compost heap resident. The silver cap would look great in the fairy garden, but I’m resisting temptation. Its questionable origin makes it an unsafe bet for a tiny garden with small visitors. It’s cute though…if you’re into grey flowers.

Mushrooms in compost

Grey Blooms: Tim Burton Inspiration

San Jose: Green in all the Right Places

Though San José is known globally as part of Silicon Valley, we have greener reasons to be proud.  According to Bright Green San Jose, our city recycles 71 percent of the waste we generate. Wow!  Further:

San Jose’s collective recycling helped the Recycle Plus program win the 2012 Green City Award from the national magazine Waste and Recycling News.  The award honored San José for having the most effective residential program for a large city in the United States.

One of the programs San José offers is composting workshops and bin sales.  I just started composting yard waste and kitchen scraps this year.  Our yard is small, and packed with plants and flowers with limited space for growing veggies.  I assumed composting required a lot of space and full sun. I purchased a Tumbling Composter earlier this year, which allowed me to compost kitchen scraps in a small space, diverting them from our landfill.

Tumbling Composter

Tumbling Composter

The tumbler filled quickly, so I started a second bin using an old Rubbermaid storage box. Now that’s full, too.  You can’t rush compost, so while I wait for nature to rot its course, I’m pondering my next move.

You know what’s funny?  I used to toss kitchen scraps or put them down the garbage disposal.  Now that I’m composting, throwing out the food waste feels wrong.

I’ve decided to attend one of San José’s free Backyard Composting Workshops to pick up some additional tips. The first workshop is March 27th, 2013.  They also sell Wriggly Ranch worm bins and Soil Saver compost bins at a steep discount.

In the meantime, any tips on composting in small spaces are welcome.  My counter top bin is filling rapidly, and those coffee grounds and pepper cores need a place to call home.

Tumbling Composter: Some Assembly Required


As I excitedly ordered my tumbling composter, I failed to read the inevitable fine print. You know…some assembly required. I kept a watchful eye for the UPS driver, ready to pounce on that box. My kitchen scraps were taking on an odoriferous scent and still the composter didn’t come.

I eventually dumped the scraps in a bucket in the garage, and covered them with potting soil. It’s funny but two weeks ago I would have tossed those scraps or ground them up in the garbage disposal.  Now the scraps had a real purpose. My garden was counting on me.

UPS At Last

The day my husband, and resident handyman left for a business trip, the box arrived. I came home that afternoon to a damaged box on the porch, with one of the parts sticking out of the side. Oh-oh.  I was afraid to open it. The good news: no harm done. The bad news: so many parts. I was facing eight panels, two end pieces, six leg pieces and a bag with 56 washers and screws. I unpacked all the pieces, then left the room.

damaged box

Lindy sits on the directions

Lindy didn’t think she could help, either.

My son, in his sweet and gentle way, asked me if I would be moving it as it was blocking his path to the living room. Okay. I can do this. I fumbled around with my husbands various tools, found what I hoped would work and got down to the business of building a composter.  It went together beautifully, and was over half done when I called it a day.  I finished assembling it with my son’s help on Thursday. At last the fun could begin.

compost assembly instructions

Some assembly required

assembled tumbling composter


I had a bucket of “brown” from the pumpkin patch ready to go and a decent sized bucket of “green” to go with it. Into the bin they went.  I closed the door, gave it a spin, and smiled. Who knew rotted apples and dead leaves could bring about such happiness?

Do you compost too?

The Compost Recipe

I’ve seen several variations on the mix, but here are the suggestions from tumblingcomposters.com:

The composting process works best by mixing moist greens (nitrogen rich) with dry browns (carbon rich) in a ratio of approximately 2 parts greens to 1 part browns.

Greens are:

  • kitchen scraps
  • grass clippings
  • garden and house plants

Browns are:

  • leaves
  • straw or hay
  • saw dust
  • twigs

Do not compost:

  • meats/fats/bones
  • dairy products
  • trash/plastic
  • wood ashes
  • invasive plants or weeds

Serves several plants.


Eastwooding: An Empty Chair with Flare


Boomdeeada got me rolling this week, when she shared this clever (empty) chair from Pinterest with the term Eastwooding.

Cactus Chair Made by Valentina Gonzales Wohlers

Cactus Chair Made by Valentina Gonzales Wohlers
(Thanks Boomdee)


Someone coined the term “Eastwooding” after actor Clint Eastwood addressed an empty chair at the  Republican National Convention. He was pretending to address President Obama.   Memes are spreading across the web, parodying the awkward, at times rambling, unscripted speech.

A meme is a cultural item that is transmitted by repetition in a manner analogous to the biological transmission of genes.

In his book The Selfish Gene (2 ed.) Richard Dawkins states “We need a name for the new replicator, a noun that conveys the idea of a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation. ‘Mimeme’ comes from a suitable Greek root, but I want a monosyllable that sounds a bit like ‘gene’. I hope my classicist friends will forgive me if I abbreviate mimeme to meme. If it is any consolation, it could alternatively be thought of as being related to ‘memory’, or to the French word même. It should be pronounced to rhyme with ‘cream’.”

I will leave the clever memes to the talented folks that create them, but thought it would be fun to share empty chairs with a gardening flare.  Be sure to let me know if you have a favorite in the comments below.

Garden Chairs with Flare

Artistic garden chairs by De Castelli

Artistic garden chairs by De Castelli
(This chair is really growing on me)

Debra Prinzing Planted Chair

Debra Prinzing Planted Chair
(What a ferny arm)

Dragonfly Garden Bench

Dragonfly Garden Bench
(Heavy duty bench won’t fly off in the wind)

Leaf Chair and Bench

Leaf Chair and Bench
(It might be best to just leaf this one alone)

Artscapes Garden Furniture

Artscapes Garden Furniture
(Is it your turn to mow the lawn?)

Of possible interest: