Finding herself in need of a device that simplifies composting and fertilization, a Galt native went ahead and invented one, and the result recently became available for purchase.
Stephanie Jackson told the Herald that she came to invent the Eden’s Circles gravity lock composting system as a way to improve her home gardening experience.
A fourth-generation Galtonian, Jackson moved to Lodi several years ago. Out of a longing for the farmland that she had grown up around, Jackson began gardening in her backyard. But the pursuit proved expensive; Jackson said she spent thousands of dollars on soil amendments. When she investigated composters to make her own fertilizer, the only options were unwieldy devices that she said looked like laundry baskets and milk crates.
“I’m like, ‘There’s got to be a better way,’” Jackson recalled. About two years ago, she started making prototypes of her product out of chicken wire. Then, while looking at yard decorations in a store, she had her breakthrough: “If I make it decorative (and) simple, everybody can do this, anybody can do this.”
The result of her work is the Eden’s Circles composter, which is a galvanized-steel mesh cylinder topped by a lid that is decorated to look like a ladybug. To use it, one digs a hole about 10 inches wide and 9 inches deep in the area to be fertilized and soil is lightly packed around the mesh. Jackson recommended adding red wiggler worms. Food waste can then be disposed of in the composter. The worms consume the waste and travel into the surrounding soil. Jackson said a single Eden’s Circles composter can fertilize a roughly 6-foot radius.
She advised taking the composter out at the end of the growing season, to clean it and make sure no roots are encroaching, before putting it back in the ground.
“There’s no work. There’s no turning, no smell. The snakes can’t get in it. … There’s no other structure like that,” Jackson said.
The effects on Jackson’s gardening were striking. A bed of tomatoes with the composter grew 7-foot tall plants, Jackson said, and she wasn’t spending any more money on fertilizers and soil amendments.
Other products, including a chicken coop feeder and a portable worm farm, are in the works, as well as larger sizes for the composter and lid options like a bumblebee and a butterfly.
Jackson said she wants to teach younger generations how to grow their own food. Her granddaughters help her out in the garden. And she is donating several composters to Ellerth E. Larson Elementary School in Lodi so students can use them in the school’s new gardening program. The food grown will be served in the cafeteria.
With the introduction in California of organics recycling programs that have residents separate food waste from garbage, Jackson said Eden’s Circles can help people put some of that food waste to their own use.
The same safety precautions that apply to other forms of home composting apply to Eden’s Circles, so, for example, meat, bones and dairy products should still go in the organics recycling cart.
Jackson said she draws inspiration from the Bible verse John 6:35, in which Jesus calls himself “the bread of life.”
“Everything that you’re eating and giving your family, you’re literally putting it back into the food, so you don’t have to worry about if you got this plant from here or whatever in your garden,” Jackson said. “You know that the growth is going to come from the nutrients in that soil that you created, and you’re feeding your kids healthy food.”
Eden’s Circles gravity lock composting system is available for purchase at edenscircles.com.
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