Unplanned Compost Garden

Last fall I bought a 3 bin wire composter from gardener’s supply. www.gardenerssupply.com I love looking at their catalogs.  I get as excited when they arrive as I did when the Sears Christmas Wish Book arrived when I was a kid.  I decided on this one because I wanted it to be directly on the ground so the nearby struggling orange trees would benefit from the close proximity to the composter.  I also liked the idea of having the 3 bins so that I could have compost at different stages.  Even now, I still don’t know a whole lot about what I’m doing.  I’m going by advice I’m getting from my mother in law who is a complete natural at all of this.  I’m still trying to figure out the ratio of vegetable and fruit scraps to leaves, grass etc.  My only problem I’m having is that I’m a little short to be able to use my little pitchfork to turn the compost in the bin.  I think I’m going to have to start getting a little step ladder so I can get a little leverage.

I really hadn’t paid a whole lot of attention to my compost bins from the fall.  I decided I needed to tend to them a bit better if I wanted to have any compost for my new plants when I discovered this:


It was like Jack and the Beanstalk.  I swear it grew overnight!  I had no idea what this was.  It looked like pumpkin or zucchini but I knew I hadn’t put any of that into the compost bin.  These vines were clearly coming out of the compost bins and as you can see…very healthy!  The more I looked the more I was convinced that it was butternut squash and I had put the scraps of that in the compost in the fall.


Sure enough, it’s butternut squash!  There were a ton of blossoms!


And tomatoes!….lots of them!  As you can see, they are making it a bit hard to actually get to my compost bin.  I kept thinking I may just have to cut some of this back so I can get to it but as of now I haven’t had the heart to.  I’m really interested in seeing how these taste when they are grown from such a rich fertile place.


More progress tomorrow!


A Wedding in 2 months?….Gulp

When we moved back into the house I grew up in to care for my elderly mother, not only was the house a wreck but so was the front and back yard. The front yard wasn’t terrible because the gardener tended to it a bit but he left the back yard completely untouched.  Given all of the work and renovation we had to do just to make the house livable I just put the back yard on the back burner.  As long as we had a clean house to live in I was satisfied.  We were nearing the end of the renovation and everything was going to start quieting down when I mentioned to my newly engaged daughter that when the time came she and her fiance could get married in the back yard if they wanted. Long story short….this beautiful face is the reason why in 2 months we transformed a mess of a back yard into a beautiful outdoor wedding venue….


My future son in law is in the Navy and at least 6 months out of the year is deployed on a nuclear sub.  Trying to plan a wedding when your fiance is in the military is next to impossible.  However, he had 2 weeks off in 2 months time.  The following pictures are the before pictures of the back yard.  I really had no idea what I wanted the back yard to look like other than beautiful for my baby girl’s big day.  My son in law’s uncle who had helped with the renovation came up with the terracing idea that we used and everyday I walk out in the back yard and water my fruit trees and look at the butternut squash growing I can’t believe how lucky I was to have him make all of this happen.



I think the El Camino shell adds that extra special touch!

Back yard before 3

I’m guessing that this back yard hadn’t seen any TLC in about 10 years.

Back yard before 8

The only thing new in this picture is the fence I had put in very soon after the renovation started.

Back yard before 5

My mother’s gazebo…My dad had this built for my mom over 20 years ago.  It was something she wanted so much and my dad would do just about anything to make my mom happy.  This used to be where our above ground pool was as you can see from the lovely concrete we used to have surrounding it.  classy all the way! lol!

Tomorrow I’ll show the next phase in the progression of the back yard as it’s slowly transformed.  Believe me, you would never know the before pictures and the after pictures are the same yard.

Till next time!