Community Gardens Dispatch No. 46: Las Flores, Thousand Oaks, Part 2
At Las Flores community garden, you don’t have to fetch compost. It comes to you.
Darrell Heximer came up with a design for a mobile compost sifter that sits over a wheelbarrow. Eagle Scouts built it, incorporating some improvements from their scout leader. The two prototypes are sturdy and easy to use. A screened tray is suspended on the steel frame using short sections of chain; the tray swings back and forth, allowing gravity to do most of the sifting.
“People tell me I should patent it,” says Heximer, an artist and 23-year-employee at Santa Monica City College. He got the idea while driving home to Westlake along the ocean and seeing a beach vendor hauling a handmade cart with balloon tires over the sand.
He and a friend, engineer Colin Grenridge, have a new design with four wheels, a canvas skirt around the frame with pockets for tools, interchangeable screens and hose attachments.
“It has morphed into a mobile compost sifter, potting bench, vegetable washer," Heximer said. "There are compost sifters but nothing like this. This is the Cadillac version.”
Elsewhere at Las Flores, gardeners have deployed other helpful devices. Unlike some community gardens, Las Flores allows irrigation timers. Mike Caulley, a contractor, has two: one for an overhead mister and one for the drip irrigation line, both positioned on a frame above his seedlings and container plants. He uses filters traditionally used for indoor devices to prevent the water line from clogging. Above it all: a solar-powered light trained on the American flag.