Big (Green) Deal: TILT Event Educates Children on Compost

Originally written for the Watertown Daily Times by Amanda Taylor, who covered TILT’s (Com)Post-Halloween event at Zenda Farm Preserve over the weekend.

Christopher A. Nevala, 7, smashes leftover Halloween pumpkins with a mallet during the (Com)Post Halloween event at Zenda Farms in Clayton on Saturday afternoon. Photo by Amanda Morrison for the Watertown Daily Times.

TILT Event Educates Children on Compost

CLAYTON — Creating a manageable compost heap is not as difficult as many may believe.

“It’s quite simple and should not be intimidating to anyone,” Corinne M. Mockler said.

Ms. Mockler is the coordinator of education and outreach for the Thousand Islands Land Trust. The group organized a (Com)post Halloween on Saturday to educate children and their families on maintaining a compost heap.

“A lot of families have gardens, but we’re not sure how much kids are involved in the gardening or if they are aware of the fact that anything can be composted,” Ms. Mockler said.

People were invited to bring their leftover pumpkins and jack-o’-lanterns to Zenda Farms at 38973 Zenda Road and smash them up in a wooden box with a shovel. The pumpkin pieces were combined with old leaves to create compost that will be used in the spring on TILT’s Community Garden.

“Who can resist? You get rid of grass, old jack-o’-lanterns and kids get to go around and smash stuff,” she said.

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Bounty in the Land of No Rain


While I’ve been taking random photos throughout the summer (and I’ll get them up eventually), I haven’t been very good at sharing much of the newly created flower beds and newly expanded garden. I can’t express how thankful I am to the various friends who’ve given me perennials from their gardens/stores – my little flower beds look like they’ve been there forever, not like they were just built this year! And Butchy has put in SO MUCH WORK in expanding Fort Knox (including having to build raised beds in parts that were too rocky) and adding in all sorts of new veggies. We now have root veggies, rainbow swiss chard, flashy trout-back lettuce and have even started an asparagus patch! We still seem to be having issues with coaxing forth any green peppers, and unfortunately by the time we realized our brussel sprouts were not flourishing there were no plants left to buy….But the beauty of the North Country is that you always have a friend, a community garden, a co-op or a farm stand that you can buy veggies from cheap and fresh!

We also started a few different berry patches and a variety of fruit trees – I’ll post photos of those soon. And as usual, there was no shortage of butterflies, bees and birds nesting in our birdhouses….or building nests wherever they felt! Even Smash-cat, perpetual homebody, decided that she was now a wild-thing and wants to be outside all the time, stalking the wild potato beetle.

2011 saw torrential rains that stalled the creation of the original part of the garden, and this year we were sidetracked by a neighbors broken tiller…but at least we seem to be right on the same production schedule we were last year. Maybe next year we can get an earlier start, but I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished so far, all by ourselves! We’re in talks with a neighbor on buying a quarter-share of a cow and on the horizon for next year at the Five Birch Perch? CHICKENS!


A Trip to the Old Moss Woman’s Secret Garden

“A man sooner or later discovers
that he is the master-gardener of his soul,
the director of his life.” ~ James Allen

More at my Tumblr blog….

Images from the Old Moss Woman’s Secret Garden

Green(ish) Guest Post: Q&A With Margaret Roach, by Ruth from Flowers Forums

Ruth from Flowers Forums sent me an email recently, asking if I would post her wonderful interview with “Gardener Extraordinaire” Margaret Roach. Since I’m a big fan of Ms. Roach myself, of course I said yes:

Q&A With Margaret Roach, Gardener Extraordinaire

by Ruth on Mar 26

The more you know the more there is to learn. This would describe what I am going through with my gardening knowledge, or rather lack there of.  I asked Margaret Roach, Gardener extraordinaire and author of the book and the blog A Way To Garden, if she would answer some questions about her gardening philosophies and how-to’s, and to my joy she agreed. Within the answers are links which expand even more on the subject on hand.

FF: Tell us a bit about yourself and your garden.

Margaret: On a radio podcast for “Horticulture” magazine last year, I was asked to describe the garden, and here’s what came out: “It’s a collector’s garden meets a bird-lover’s garden meets an impossible piece of tilted land, with a side order of sensuality.”

I have gardened for 25 years in USDA Zone 5B, on 2.3 acres of very steep land that’s set inside thousands of acres of state forest and parkland.

I love foliage more than flowers-colored foliage and large foliage, especially-and grow a lot of my own food (including for off season storage and canning and freezing). I don’t use any chemicals.

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First Sign of Spring

Spotted some bulbs poking their way out of the soil in my back bed the other day….still have a way to go, but spring has definitely sprung!

Also started seeds this past weekend*. Butch set up our usual shelves, but decided to purchase some plant lights to help the seedlings along a little better. I had seen an article (in Organic Gardening, I think) where a reader had rigged up rope lighting instead of heat mats, so we decided to try it out. Butch cut some plywood for each shelf, to keep the containers from falling through the holes in the wire shelving and to provide a bit of a barrier between the containers and the rope lights.

It would depend on the size of your operation if buying rope lights would necessarily be less expensive than heating mats, but I just happened to have some old rope lights lying around…so, obviously a cheaper option for us! I did find this article from Dave’s Garden which talks about seedling heating mats and inexpensive alternatives.

Happy spring, everyone!

*Update! We already have seedlings popping out of the soil…our new setup is obviously working great!

Inspiration Station: The Pothole Gardener

Via Stumbleupon via Treehugger:

The Pothole Gardener Creates Miniature Living  Worlds in East London Potholes

by  Tafline  Laylin, 01/20/12

Steve  Wheen understands that nobody likes to pay a pile of taxes only to hit  potholes on their way to work every day, so he started filling up the pesky  cracks in East London with mini living worlds comprised of soil, plants, and  adorable props. The guerrilla  gardener creates these mini (mostly domestic) scenes on quiet streets, dead  end lanes, and foot paths, snaps photographs of his work, and then removes the  props so that nobody gets a chair in their tire! When he’s satisfied with his  projects, he documents them over at The  Pothole Gardener.

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Coco in Wonderland

As someone who worked in NYC for many years, I would avoid Bryant Park during Fashion Week like the alien-invasion/plague that it was…However, every now and then a fashion editorial will catch my eye, either because of the art direction or the model. This one does both! First of all, it’s very Alice in Wonderland in the Garden of Live Flowers, and second, Coco Rocha is pretty much my new favorite model. She magically transforms into whomever the shoot requires, but doesn’t blend into the background like most walking clothes hangers.

Now if only I could find a “Drink Me” bottle so I could go play in a giant garden…


Photos of Coco from Coco Rocha’s website

Bottom photo from me in Albuquerque…someday I will post all my photos from my most recent trip to New Mexico (Almost 2 years later!).