Joy’s Happy Garden
An Artist's Passive Aggressive Search for Sustainability in the Desert

Joy Holdread

As a clay artist for over 50 years I developed studio methods to conserve water and reclaim clay and glaze materials without contaminating our water ways. See environmental artist series of essays. I've adapted some of the clay recycling techniques to compost processing.

I developed Low Water, Low Labor, Hot and Wet Composting in the Desert Techniques to process yard waste with minimal potable water use over 15 years ago. I offered workshops and presentations to gardening groups, community gardens, sustainable organizations and the public, well..... darn near anyone I could corner and talk to about the importance of reclaiming plant materials and food waste, transforming it into good rich soil without using potable water. (I've discovered talking composting is a great way to shift unpleasant political conversations) I'm COMMITTED to processing yard and kitchen waste into Soil instead of methane generating Landfill, I'm committed to Conserving Water at the same time. I was honored to participate for two years as a Volunteer Composting Researcher for Cal tech representing desert composting. I took a 4 year break from teaching and speaking about composting when I became a parental caregiver, bought a property with caliche, goat heads and encroaching Burmuda (but no rain water harvesting landscaping or native plants.) Then Covid gave me another two years of solitude in my garden and yard. My workshop and power point includes Compost Bin Rehabilitation for Desert Conditions as well as dry/brown materials soaking without heavy lifting. My motto: “Work Smarter not Harder.” I streamline processes because there is so much more work to do.