Phase Three: Lincolnville Community Garden takes on composting

Cash McVay turns the compost pile.

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By Mallory Hopkins |

The Lincolnville Community Garden has been up and running for five years now and allows members, who donate $25 every 6 months, to have their own beds of plants. An initiative that the garden has taken on from the beginning is allowing members to compost their own food scraps to create nutrient rich compost product for their own beds.

The Compost Social is a weekly occurrence at the Lincolnville Community Garden. The social is every Sunday from 8:45-9:45 a.m. and an average of 10 members show up each week to tend to their portion of the garden and drop off their personal compost into the compost bin. Cash McVay has been watching the composting operation grow along with the garden. McVay was the “rock-pusher” for this project back in 2010 and continues to attend the weekly events. He has loved seeing the compost aspect evolve because “the compost is the glue of the garden,” he said.

Cash McVay turns the compost pile.

Cash McVay turns the compost pile.

The garden’s go-to Compost guy, Bill Lyons, aided the current and innovative three-phase composting system using bins that are now being utilized to break down the mixture. The first bin is where members of the garden can come on Sundays and dump their food scraps. The scraps in the food bin are mixed with manure donated by the carriage horses of St. Augustine, dried leaves and foliage. At this point the compost gets very hot. When the members turn the pile, steam can be seen emitting from the pile, caused by the breaking down of the food scraps. The second bin is where they move the mixture after it has broken down. The mixture remains pretty hot at this point and is moved to phase two so it can begin to cool down and allow the fresher food scraps to break down. After the mixture has cooled down and also completed the breaking down process, it is moved to the third bin. This finished composting product is what members use to add to their beds.

The garden was created by and for the community in hopes of bringing it together, and organizers like McVay say it has done just that.

This will not be the last of McVay’s community projects: he is helping the community push for a park at the end of Riberia Street, as well as a kayak outlet in the Maria Sanchez Creek that is fed from the Matanzas River.

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