Menlo Park resident Carolyn Dorsch is very familiar with her backyard. She grew up there and is an avid gardener. For the last five years, she’s also been a Master Composter, a pursuit that was recently recognized with the City’s Environmental Quality Award.
“I first got interested after attending a Recycle Works lecture put on by the county of San Mateo,” she said. “Then in 2008 I got into the Master Composter program. About 30 of us spent almost all day Saturday for 12 weeks learning about composting and how to educate others in the community about backyard recycling.”
Carolyn’s yard has two kinds of composting. One is for yard clippings. “You throw the ‘greens’ and the ‘browns’ together and add water [and air]. Microorganisms break it down; all I do is turn it occasionally.
“I use the resulting mulch everywhere in my garden, in both the vegetable and flower beds. Sprinkled around, it both amends the suit and conserves water.”
For food scraps, Carolyn has worm bins (in photos). “I started with two pounds of worms — that’s about 2,000. Once established, they reproduce and you don’t have to keep buying worms.”
Carolyn describes her involvement in composting and the educational outreach she does, as “everything I dreamed of. I’m made a lot of friends and really enjoy volunteering at the Menlo Park Farmers Market once a month [the second Sunday] giving out information.
“Being out in the backyard is our thing. We can spend a whole weekend puttering around — it’s our enjoyment and relaxation.”
Photos by Irene Searles