Remember my neighbor Dr. Nazirahk Amen, the naturopath whose family grows almost every bite they eat? Well, I noticed
him at the local food co-op selling vegetable starts and the compost products of nearby compost-maker Pogo Organics. Seems he’d been a customer of Pogo (a real person) for a while and suggested a distributorship. Why not, says Pogo. Next, Nazirick proposed using some of Pogo’s 180-acre facility to grow food, and why not build a greenhouse, too? And how about we use some of that high-quality compost you’re producing here to heat the greenhouse? Maybe fill up a dumpster with it and pipe the heat into the greenhouse through vents.
Details? It’s called passive heat, and that’s about all I can tell you. Except that the experiment was a roaring success last winter, when it never got colder than 42 degrees inside the greenhouse. Further research will determine exactly what volume of compost is needed for what size greenhouse.
Nazirahk invited me out to Pogo’s to see all this and it was a blast tooling across acres of compost piles in a golf cart, with occasional stops to see projects like the pond that their "biodiesel guy" Frank is building to purify their greywater. Here you see it under construction, and Frank promises me it’ll be gorgeous with a waterfall and loaded with plants. Looks like I’ll have to go back and see the end result, huh? (Watch out, Pogo!)
Then there’s the trial they’ve got going on growing mushrooms on logs. And with Pogo up for anything, it’s no surprise that they donated all the mulch and compost for a cool landscaping project I worked on for low-income housing. Or that the organic lawn care demo on the National Mall was another recipient of donated goods from Pogo’s. I was glad to hear he’d landed the contract to provide compost and compost tea to all the Whole Foods in the D.C. area.
One question I would have asked Pogo in an interview is: Who ARE you people? But then I noticed on their About Us page this staff list, with the warning "Not always pretty": 4 MD Trees Experts, 3 ISA Certified Arborists, 2 Certified Compost Technicians, 8 Guacamoleons, 6 Hillbillies, 1 Genius, 3 Burn Outs, 100 Chickens (Deceased), Mycelium Running, Baby George, A few "Artists". Okay, that explains it.
And here’s Pogo, a tree service guy who’s found a million ways to recycle.