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Saturdays in the Malibu Compost Garden Mid November

Welcome to our very first blog of Saturdays in the Malibu Compost Garden, where we will be sharing our journey through the garden, the orchard and the vegetable garden from our Saturday garden work.

We hope that you can learn a lot through these blogs and apply them to your own garden, as we get so many questions throughout the months regarding our organic protocols. We promise they'll be short (except this opening one), to the point and with many pictures, quick tips and an occasional video.

So without further ado, welcome to our garden!

Heart shaped sliced ripe and organic tomato.
There is nothing like a homegrown tomato in the Fall!

We moved into this home that we now call Four Oaks Farm (because of an oak tree at every corner of the property) 14 months ago. We removed all other trees that took over the hillside within the first month. Here's what it looked like before:

Hillside back yard with large trees and house in background.

We now had a blank slate to create our 1/2 acre food garden.

Staked Granny Smith apple tree in organic garden.
Properly staked 1 1/2 year old Granny Smith apple tree

This apple tree was purchased bare root from Trees of Antiquity 1 1/2 years ago. The tree stakes are on the outer edge of the well and not up against the trunk, since that would damage the trunk and create a weak tree dependent on the stake. Instead, the loose stake wires help the tree develop it's own strength throughout the windy months.

When the irrigation turned on this morning, we noticed that some of the shrubbler emitters that we just put in a month ago were plugged. Opening them for a moment, then adjusting them to emit a farther distance helps this problem.

Hand opening a drip emitter to flush it.
Opening emitter to flush, then re-adjusting

We always prefer to hand water the tree wells with a watering wand, but after 13 months of that, we have finally awakened the biology in the wells so that we only hand water once a month now. These emitters at 3-4 locations at the bottom of our tree wells will help loosen the work load during the fall and winter months.

Pruning our 1 1/2 year old almond tree of dead wood:

Our next step this morning was to remove some of our spent tomato plants and amend the area for sowing our potatoes.

These tomato plants didn't do so well as it was the first year that we amended the soil in this area. We could tell that nothing was here before as the soil was hard as a rock before we added Bu's Blend Biodynamic Compost to the area in June. They still gave us many tomatoes, but didn't become a real hardy plant as the tomato plants' roots could not go very deep.

Five tomato plants in tomato cages.
First year's tomato plants at season's end

We decided to remove 3 of our 5 tomato plants to make room for our potatoes.

Now it was time to amend this soil:

After adding Bu's Blend Biodynamic Compost, we gave it a good watering with the watering wand at the "shower" setting and are going to keep watering every other day for a couple of weeks prior to planting our new seed potatoes from

At the southwest raised bed food garden, it was now time to plant some more lettuce. As you can see from the picture, there is plenty of room until the cabbage in the center grows:

Organic vegetable garden stock tank filled with seedlings and organic potting soil.
Cabbage, lettuce and chives

Hand planting lettuce seedling.
Planting more lettuce in succession gardening

Our brassicas are getting bombarded this year with cabbage worms from the white cabbage moth. We have to check it every week for eggs or larvae and since we were away this past week, it got out of control!

We checked especially the center of the plant as that is where there is softer plant tissue. Check for eggs mostly underneath the leaves.


After a hard-morning's work, we had a nice rewarding breakfast!

Sliced organic tomatoes and cherry tomatoes in bowl.
Final Fall Tomatoes

Tomatoes, eggs and orange juice breakfast
Farmer's Breakfast

Thanks for reading and join us next time as we build more biology in this soil and start up our home composting system.

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