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A Volunteer’s Amazing Story

Composting and Hydroponics

Attending a Glencoe Community Garden evening educational program in 2014, Fred Miller was intrigued and fascinated about composting. At the time, the GCG was definitely struggling in this area. When Fred volunteered to help, we enthusiastically said yes please!

Fred quickly put his formidable scientific talents to work. With the help of his wife, Barbara, he methodically developed a successful composting program for the GCG. Enlisting a dedicated group of partners, this effort is now providing almost all the ‘soil’ needed each year to top off the Garden’s beds. The incredible thing is he did this from kitchen scraps that would otherwise be rotting in landfills, releasing methane and dangerously polluting our environment. We were amazed how enhanced the GCG’s organic practice had become under Fred’s tutelage and grateful for what we could do to help save our environment.

Now there is an ever-growing number of North Shore residents, restaurants and coffee shops participating in the Garden’s Community Composting program. It is truly a community effort! To keep it going, we need volunteers to help pick-up, chop and layer compost material. Please drop by Sunday mornings from 10:00 am to noon and make a real difference.

Fred’s successes for the Garden did not stop at just composting. This spring he came up with a creative plan to make the GCG’s Greenhouse more productive. After developing a hydroponic garden in the basement of his Glencoe home, Fred worked with Jim Goodman to design a program for a larger and more innovative platform at the Garden.

Using the hydroponic concept of growing in nutrient rich water to produce the most remarkable plants, the GCG currently has not one, not two, but three working systems. The systems use pumps to transfer water to the roots of the plants several times a day. Not only is the Garden producing nutritious veggies, we are doing it completely off the grid! The cooling fan along with the five pumps that circulate the water are all powered by the solar array mounted on the roof of the GCG’s shed.

Plus the water used to irrigate the micro greens beds comes from our three hundred-gallon rain barrel that in turn is pumped using solar.

Fred came to the Garden rich with ideas and we have been enriched by his initiatives. It is really thrilling to witness the productive results of his efforts. Come by the Garden soon to see first hand the fruits of this awe-inspiring work. Come Farm with Us! Come bring your Ideas!

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