THE U-Pick GARDEN will be closing August 20th. This will be the last year the garden will be open to the public. Next year I'll be operating as a CSA, supplying about 20 regular customers with weekly boxes. Thank you for your support over the last 8 years, but it's time to try something new.

To get a copy of my book, "How To Grow Vegetables In Sitka, Alaska" just give me a call....The books are $20 plus tax. If you live out of town and want me to mail you a copy, you can mail a check for $25.60 to:

Lori Adams
P O Box 6021
Sitka, Alaska

Down To Earth U-Pick Garden is located at 2103 Sawmill Creek Road in Sitka, Alaska. It is open usually from mid-June through late August. Hours are Monday-Saturday 12:00 to 6:30. On Farmer's Market Saturdays I am not open until 2:00. Children are welcome but may not run through the garden or chase the ducks. If you have any questions you can contact me, Lori Adams, at 907-747-6108 or 907-738-2241. My email address is

Friday, April 8, 2016

What In The Heck Is Compost?

One of my favorite gardening jobs is sifting  compost.  It's really quite embarrassing how long I can entertain myself at this task. It's so fascinating and addictive.

I have not always appreciated the value of compost. When I was quite young I heard my Mom talking to her siblings and parents about Grampa's amazing compost. I didn't know what they were talking about, but they sure seemed excited about it. One sunny day at a family gathering we all trooped outside to inspect what I thought was going to be this amazing, magical thing......imagine my surprise when they stopped in front of a boring dirt pile. What was it exactly that we were looking at, I wondered? It was very mystifying....and I walked away from that experience very confused.

Fast forward to today..... I am now very much aware of the value of this amazing "dirt".

Sifting compost takes time.....time that I usually spend reflecting, planning, meditating and praying as
I sift out the small bits and throw the identifiable items back into the compost bin.

Looking at those identifiable bits is like the whole gardening season in review.......

Fruit and Vegetable stickers

"Thank you Lord for my boys. Thank you that they are passionate about eating healthy food. Thank you that they appreciate what I grow. Please be with them as they grow, make decisions, and deal with whatever life throws at them."

 Fern foliage from valentine flowers from Mr. Adams

"Thank you Lord for my husband. Thank you that he sends me flowers and encourages me in my gardening adventures."

 Mussel shells that come in on the seaweed

"Thank you Lord for the amazing resources that you provide in the sea. Thank you for the seaweed, seashell sand, starfish, herring eggs, fish carcasses, and beach mulch. I am always amazed how richly you bless us with your bounty. Please help me to continue to have the strength and energy to go out and get it!"

 Rocks that come in with the seaweed and animal manure that people donate to me

"Thank you Lord for the friends and strangers that bless me with gifts. Manure, buckets, fencing, planting pots, food for the ducks....many times I come home from a trip to town and find that once again someone has dropped off something. Rocks are not fun to pick out of the compost....and there are a lot of them.....but they remind me of friends....old and new."


"Thank you Lord for delicious animals....especially chicken and pigs. I wonder what I should make for dinner tonight."

 Evidence of ducks from the past

"Thank you Lord for the ducks. Thank you that they love to eat slugs. Thank you that my family tolerates them. And thank you for a neighbor who has ducks too and doesn't seem to mind if mine quack too much. Thank you for the joy that they bring to my life and that they make me laugh every single day! Please help me to endure their mischief and help me continue to find ways to keep them under control. Thank you that it's been a long time since a dog has gotten into the yard and that the moth balls keep the bears away. Thank you that ducks are delicious, provide warm down, and are generous with their eggs."

Whenever I sift compost there are always a duck or two waiting patiently, watching me, waiting for me to find worms for them. I am amazed how long they will sit there quietly....ever hopeful.

How can I say, "No" to that face?

 Here you go, girl.

Before I know it, it's getting dark, and it's time to go in. Once again I've spend way too much time hunched over the wheelbarrow.

But the results, are nothing short of amazing and mystical!

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