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VISTA Gardens Compost Tent...Where Waste Becomes Garden Food!

Updated: Jan 16, 2023

Where discarded food and plant material become a microbe-rich living soil amendment for member gardeners to use in their raised garden beds at VISTA Gardens.

Jay adding cooking scraps from his kitchen to the intake bin and covering his contribution with dry leaves. VISTA members and community neighbors save and bring their cooking and gardening scraps.

Each person who donates food and plant material “cuts his or her own”. A 12” ruler on this sign is a reminder of the maximum size to be added to the compost intake bin.

We also receive produce from nearby community food pantry. Since the food is beyond the “best-buy” date, the pantry may not distribute it to clients.

Paula and M.J. let nothing go to waste. Even these “too ripe” pineapples are (safely) chopped and added to the compost intake bin. They are a great source of nitrogen!

Geo bins filled with decomposing compost. At the height of decomposition, the temperature inside these bins reaches 140°F - 160°F. We locate geo bins so that they receive some sun and rain. When it does not rain, the crew adds water to each bin.

Contents of the bins are turned regularly to add oxygen.

This geo bin filled with decomposed compost is ready to sift.

Unsifted compost above is ready to be sifted over mesh screen to remove larger non-decomposed material.

Marilyn and Hugh sifting compost. See that “Black Gold” underneath the sifting table!

Helen and Aida sifting with community volunteers on a rainy day. We sift compost “Rain or Shine”!

VISTA members and neighbors kindly rake and donate fallen leaves for our compost operation.

Mike delivering bags of leaves – the main carbon source for our compost operation.

“Mountains” of bagged leaves stored under our compost tent (as well as under tarps near the tent) to last us a year until the leaves fall again.

We welcome your contributions to “The Black Gold Mine” that helps us grow vegetables and flowers organically.

Always cover the food scraps you place in the intake compost bin with leaves!

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