This month's Spotlight is in Ventura; a special project at the Olivas Adobe. When completed, it will be a demonstration site for composting for the City of Ventura.
Guy Webb, of the City of Ventura Parks Department, came up to Santa Barbara to take the Green Gardener classes, both standard and advanced, and was very enthusiastic about what he learned here. Guy loves his work and feels privileged to take care of most of the Olivas Adobe grounds.
When a local Boy Scout, John Van Auker, suggested building the composting demonstration bins for his Eagle Scout project, Guy was very interested. Many 4th graders from Ventura County visit the Olivas Adobe and this would be another interesting activity for them to learn there.
John followed a plan he found in Sunset Magazine and used all recycled wood for the composting bins and trellis. The green material from the whole site will go into one end of the composter and then be moved gradually down to the other end where it can be used for mulch or can be added to potting soil.
There are already an assortment of composting bins on the site, together with a worm farm that grows a good number of worms to use in the composting process. This new composter will neaten up the entire composting area and make the process more visible. The back of the composter has a sheet of bulletproof plastic that was about to be thrown away, so it will be easy to view the waste as it turns into useful compost.
Recycled water is used for almost all irrigation at the Olivas Adobe garden; the exception being the historic herb garden. All clippings are composted on site and a mulching mower is used on the grass areas so they don't need additional fertilizer.
The Birds of Paradise shrubs along the front of the garden and the wonderful rose garden are all fertilized with coffee grounds which make the soil acid. Two pounds of coffee grounds are dug into the soil around each plant every year and the plants thrive on it. Both the rose garden and the plants in the courtyards of the Adobe are lovingly cared for by volunteers.
If you are looking for a green gardener you can find many excellent gardeners with the same training as Guy Webb on the Green Gardener list.