Cedar Grove Compost…Your Thoughts?

Cedar Grove Compost…Your Thoughts?

It seems everyone has an opinion when it comes to Cedar Grove Compost. Some love it and some could live without it. Part of the reason this is, is because in the past many people have received a truck load of compost or soil from Cedar Grove only to be dismayed when they have found more than a few pieces of plastic and inorganic material- glass, styrofoam ect. It turns out the issue was really you and me! The ‘Organics’ garbage bins that are now common place throughout cities and cul-de-sacs were often filled with items that were far from organic. This alien material made its way to Cedar Grove composting facilities which in turn made its way into their finished compost products. I have heard my fair share of Seattleites complain of this problem. And one can understand where they are coming from! No one wants to see plastic blowing in the wind as it surfaces in what was once a pristine garden bed! But that was then, CG has admitted to the problem and has taken steps to fix it. New, better processing equipment and technologies are in place and whats more is they no longer take ‘organics’ from the city of Seattle- where the worst offenders resided.

We got the chance to talk with Joseph Anderson- a Cedar Grove representative and hear more about CG and the many benefits and advantages of their compost.

We are constantly being asked as to what we recommend as a compost for gardens, and we have been hesitant to recommend any particular compost provider. Though the verdict is still out for us and CG we have pleased with the couple cubic yards that we have picked up from them. We will continue to trial it along with other composts and let you know our thoughts!

On another note, one interesting thing about CG compost is that they use zero biosolids or animal manures making them the go to option for those who are vegans and wish their garden inputs to be vegan as well. Happy gardening! 🙂

Reconnecting To The Earth- a Jewish Holiday

Reconnecting To The Earth- a Jewish Holiday

Have you ever just walked into a environment and had this ‘sense of place‘? Like the moments you were now spending meant more than most others? In Christianity we would define this as a holiness- there is something in that moment or place that is ‘set apart’. We don’t show up to every job we do expecting this but we did find it when we visited with Dave and worked on his property this Wednesday Jan. 31! Dave is an Orthodox practicing Jew who lives in Seattle, WA with his family. They have invested heavily in their backyard to make it a beautiful place of rest and rejuvenation, and you could feel that as you walked through it. Along with a real “Sukkot” in their backyard (A booth or dwelling used to live in during the feast of Tabernacles) they also had a life sized chess board measuring about 14×14′! Talk about a cool spot! But what I really wanted to get to was something that I learned from Dave. Every year, around this time there is a jewish holiday where Jews are instructed to take trees and plant them! Jews all over the world on January 31 were planting trees! Dave’s children in their school were taking time out of their studies to plant trees. Wall street execs and business CEO’s were planting trees. The elderly were planting trees. How cool! I will let Dave in this video explain it better than I can:

 

This is definitely something we can get on board with at Restoring Eden. We often share with people that there is just something so profound and spiritual in touching the earth, in putting your bare hands in soil and just letting it ground you. Remember this is the material we came from- everyone basically agrees on that! Cultivating and caring for the land and the earth is not something we can just delegate to a few large corporations and agricultural companies. Its something that we must experience for ourselves, not only is it instructed in many religious texts but our souls themselves cry out to be reconnected to the earth as well. As any gardener can attest, working with and touching soil is beyond just stress relieving and rewarding, it can, if allowed transport us, realigning us with something much bigger than ourselves.

 

Tips For Your Raised Cedar Garden Beds

Tips For Your Raised Cedar Garden Beds

Ever since we started using raised garden beds it has been hard to want to use anything else! Oftentimes our clients ground is so rocky and infertile that the effort to remove the grass, till the soil, then take soil samples, come back with the correct amendments and till those back in is just not worth the work. Not to mention you will be fighting weeds from here to eternity. Although we still have a garden plot at Restoring Eden that is simply hilled dirt we are considering converting the 1200 sq. ft. plot to only raised beds! Some of the keep benefits of raised beds are the following:

  • Very little, if any weed pressure
  • You can import your soil which means higher fertility and nutrient uptake vs. native soil (Try “lasagna gardening” in raised beds!)
  • No soil compaction means roots easily establish themselves leading to healthier more robust plants
  • Easy installation and maintenance of drip irrigation
  • Less bending over to tend to plants, easier harvest!
  • Less pest pressure

 

Although there is an upfront costs to raised beds, they are a more productive and effective means to garden for the home and hobby gardener. They promise you years and years of some of the easiest gardening you will ever do! We enjoy time in the garden as much as anyone but why do more work than you have to? Its better to spend that extra time enjoying the fruits of your labor with friends and family.

If your interested in raised garden beds please dont hesitate to call us! We would be glad to answer any questions you have. And if you would like us to do the work for you then we would love too! We offer design, delivery and installation of garden beds in the Puget Sound area. Thanks! -Troy 2532025587

Costco CEO’s gardener uses this compost!!!

Costco CEO’s gardener uses this compost!!!

Compost- it’s a love-hate relationship. I remember the first year we started a garden we thought that, “Hey if compost is good, then a lot is better!” We planted our first raised garden beds in completely compost. It was a disaster, nothing grew! Over the years we have learned through first hand experience that not all compost is created equal. We once visited a compost center that produces a product sold at local stores and many garden centers, we were shocked to see they were composting- grinding up chairs and other furniture that was painted! Probably not the end of the world, but not the best either. You may be one of the lucky ones that have farm animals and you produce your own manure and compost…the rest of us are jealous! Most however, will have to rely on what’s available in the market place. We have been testing composts in gardens, as well as asking companies for their soil analysis’ all in the hopes of being able to recommend a product that we can stand behind. The product we are using in the video below comes from Baxter Barn, Maybe a little ways out of the way for most people (Located in Fall City) but we have high hopes that this is the product we will be using in the future. The other product we recommend is called LOOP, don’t be turned off by what’s in it (human waste), it does seem to be the most well rounded and sound product that we have come across. http://www.loopforyoursoil.com/

Let us know what compost you use and the results you have seen!

Community Resilience

Community Resilience

I can’t say we were thrilled when we were called by a client the day before thanksgiving to help remove ivy from the side of their house. I thought to myself, “This isn’t what we signed up for when we started Restoring Eden” I suppose I had pictured working on projects we wanted to do- beautiful orchard installations, food forests and land restoration projects. Now I find myself pulling ivy from the swampy side of a house with rat traps all around me! The start-up phase of a business isn’t always glamorous now is it! We can’t really complain too much for having work in the slow season though! And this small 3 hour job did much to remind us of why we do what we do. We have the privilege to serve others with the businesses we create! I cannot claim any altruistic action or motivation in most of the work we do at Restoring Eden but a action does not need altruism or charity as its motive to be a blessing to those who are the recipient. The elderly ladies were more than appreciative of the work we did on such a short notice. It reminds us of a concept in permaculture called community resilience. Its where we intentionally develop communities that demonstrate resilience to adversity. Community resilience loosely defined is the ability of a community to respond to, withstand, and recover from adverse situations. Having rats infest your home as was the case for these women is not fun and is definitely an adverse situation! However, having those who you can call, whether friends, family or neighbor to help is an example of resilience. As mentioned in the video below, its a privileged to be in relationship with our clients and be able to assist them when they are in need! 🙂

The Fruit That Recontextualized Our Lives

The Fruit That Recontextualized Our Lives

Our place in this universe was shaped on that fateful day in the garden of Eden, when Eve decided to taste the forbidden fruit. Was it a fig? We may never know! We do know that for us it was tasting a fresh fig just picked that forever changed us. I mean really!?! How many moments do you really have in your life like that? IT CHANGED US, MESSED WITH US. Next thing we knew we had planted 30 fruit trees in the corner of our yard. What are we doing eating “food-like engineered products” when in our own cities we can grow so many of natures miracles. We were meant to be awe of and in wonder at the food our Maker has given us to eat.

 

Peach Picking Trip

Peach Picking Trip

When a long time friend calls you up out of the blue and gives you the opportunity to pick his organic orchard you can’t say no! So we hurried our preparations and headed to Quincy, WA at 3 AM. Picking fruit on a 12′ ladder with a fruit box strapped to your chest turned out to not be the easiest thing I have ever done. It’s hard work! My parents and many other adults their age tells stories of being bused to the strawberry fields in Puyallup, WA when they were just young kids. They made a few dollars, or quarters and got to eat all the strawberries they wanted. I think it would be great to have such a program for our High School students in the orchards of Eastern Washington. It could really teach them a thing or two!

We loaded up our truck with 60 boxes or so of fresh peaches, nectarines and plums and headed back to Seattle. The peaches were a huge hit, many clients were excited to get their hands on a box or 5 boxes or quality organic peaches! In the future if we can build out cold storage at Restoring Eden we could do this with even greater success.

One thing interesting to note is the spacing of the fruit trees in an orchard setting. Most people are planting semi-dwarf trees about 12′ apart. In this particular orchard they were more like 6′ apart and had more of an upright growth pattern. This pattern can and should be transferred over to our urban settings where space is scarce.