Preparing a Garden Bed in Arizona

I was recently asked if I compost.  In a world were composting often means making a pile of vegetative waste, keeping it moist and turning it often, I would have to say no.  I am much too lazy for that.  However, I do save all my organic kitchen waste, as well as my vegetative yard waste, and I recycle it back into the soil.  This post will discuss my method.


Authentic urban compost can converted from city trash cans. Only $5 at the Phoenix Dump. Choice of colors and sizes. Complete with graffiti!

I use a combination of “double-digging” and “layering” to make vegetative waste disappear in just a few months.  But first, before I start digging, I usually accumulate quite a bit of waste.  This I store in large converted trash cans that I purchased from the City of Phoenix.  These come with holes drilled out for aeration and the bottoms cut off.  Pick up yours today at the dump.  Click here for more information.


Here is my method.

Click on the pictures to see them full size.


Ready to become garden.


First step is to wet the ground.

Preparing Garden Bed at TESLI

Then I scrape out the wet surface to create a basin.


Basin filled with water. The scrapings go in the wheel barrow


I fill the basin a couple of times. Once the water has soaked in I am ready to dig.


The soil is much easier to dig when moist. This shows that only a couple inches down, it is bone dry still.


Dig out soil until the hole is two feet deep


21 inches is close enough for me.

gardening at TESLI

Here are some fresh weeds and dried leaves I need to get rid of.


Doesn’t matter how you put it in. Here I put the leaves in first.


Then I put some fresh weeds next.


I added fresh kitchen waste next.


Then more leaves.   The dog is looking for that kitchen waste.


Now comes the dirt. I start digging the next section and put that soil on top of the compostables.


I buy mulch or compost from my local landscape supply.


The compost is the next layer


Then I alternate dirt with compost.



The first section will end up mounded. That is fine. You will pull the soil back later onto the second section.


I enjoy mixing the top layers of soil and compost together by hand. I break up clods and remove any large rocks.


When the second section is deep enough I start the process over.


Here the first and second sections are done. The next area is being scraped and getting ready to be soaked.


This is the finished bed at the end of the summer season.  All that vegetable material is done rotting and often times the bed will settle and be lower than ground level.  Nice basin for moisture.

I am into keeping things simple and efficient. I like to garden about an hour a day. My method is conducive to this. Wet it one day, dig some the next day, fill in the next day, dig some more the next day, etc. However, I’ve also done this at a recovery center where hard core workers dug out the entire (rock solid) bed in a couple hours. Definitely harder work than I want to do. If you are trying to remove Bermuda grass at the same time, the ground definitely needs to be moist or pieces of the rhizomes will break off and sprout later.

I’ve used this method in a variety of ways.  Sometimes I just dig one big hole and slowly fill it with kitchen waste, etc.  Other times I use a smaller hole to get rid of a smaller amount of kitchen waste.  If I am replanting a bed, I usually do not go down as deep.  The deep hole is best when you are starting a garden to maximize the aeration and nutrition of the soil.

Kali Transforms TESLI

The six foot Kali Mandala glowed magnificently under the influence of a black light last night.  One of the participants, Kayt Gordon, called the mandala “off the wall”  – literally – as she kept seeing it transform, leap off the wall, and enter the circle as another participant while us humans meditated with movement and dance.

Kali Ritual MandalaHere is the daytime view.  Kali Mandala on the new sound wall that Bob and I installed this last week.  Much less noise from the neighbors industrial HVAC unit.

Goddess Mandala at TESLIWith the break of dawn today, I took down the masterpiece who’s creation consumed my time this past week.  I was reminded of the sand mandalas created by Tibetan Buddhists – medicine that captures an energy that is meant to be used and what remains is allowed to pass away.


Originally my plan was to move the sacred art into my healing room.  This morning, I contemplated and alternative plan.  I could just leave it on the wall to fade in the sun.  That felt good.  However, I finally decided that I would put it on the front of the house where more people could enjoy it.  That will take a little effort – the house is made of stucco and not as friendly to work with as wood, but I have a plan.


The next Goddess Wisdom event will be on December 26th.  We will be celebrating Hestia, the goddess of eternal light and the hearth.  Mark you calendars.  I sense another mandala will be there to bless us all.

Women’s Global Summit

On Sunday TESLI had a booth at the Free Fortune CookiesGlobal Women’s Summit at the Mesa Convention Center.  There were about 500 women in attendance with Marianne Williamson as the Keynote.

We met a lot of great women leaders, healers and professionals.  Our free paper fortune cookies were a big hit!

Many people read their fortunes and asked, “What does it mean?”  Apparently people were waiting to be told what was going to happen, instead they were frequently asked to abide in a question. Like the 70 year old that pulled:  “What energy, space and consciousness can me and my body be to get younger every year?”  She was real curious about that.  Of course, with her colorful tiara and jewel studded purse I am thinking she might already have living backwards down to an art.

TESLI booth at Global Women's Summit

Dr. Dorena Rode explains a person’s fortune to them. Such fun! Oct 10, 2015


Dorena on a rant.

Dorena on a rant.

Thanks Eric for helping at the booth and taking the pictures!