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Composting at Far Niente

01.20.12

Composting at Far Niente

Landscape Designer Daniel Townsend shares the reward and satisfaction of composting at Far Niente.

We are deep into our frigid winter with mid- to low-20s, cold for the Napa Valley. I see a plume of steam on our compost pile. I investigate and find that our pressure cooker beneath the mound is a comfortable 82 degrees Fahrenheit, nearing the end of the cook cycle.

We compost most everything from our gardens and winery, using all of the leaf litter from the woodland gardens, grass clippings, wood chips, and grape harvest materials, such as seeds and stems, must or pumice, and grape vine cuttings. We make about 150 yards of compost a year here in the Far Niente gardens. It is very rewarding to sink your hands into this black gold and to be able to introduce this back into the gardens, coming full circle again and again.

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