Imagine a farm in the hills of the New York country, where a herd of Dexter cows wanders green pastures. This is the place Tina, founder of Devine Gardens, lives and works.
Tina has been gardening for a long time. Her inspiration to garden comes from her mother, a hobby gardener who Tina would help as a child. When Tina was older and began to garden by herself, she used commercial fertilizer and weedkiller without realizing the damage it was causing her soil. “That was the a-ha moment for me,” Tina says. “I didn’t have a good gardening book that told me how to garden naturally. I bought some organic gardening books and that’s when I started going natural.”
A few years later, Tina and her husband Mike bought a farm. The sellers had tried to start a wine business and left vermicompost – also known as worm composting – on the property. Tina started using it in her garden and noticed how positively her vegetables reacted. Soon after, they added cows to the farm, and Tina began to dig deep into making quality, organic vermicompost herself.
Her compost starts with manure and bedding straight from the farm. By getting her materials right off the property, she knows exactly what is in her vermicompost. “I can really control what goes into my product,” Tina says, “I’ve spent a lot of time learning and improving. Customers are always telling me how happy they are [with the compost] and how their plants perk right up.”
As a steward of the Earth and a Green Business Network member, it’s important to Tina to not use any harmful pesticides and that her compost remains natural. This extends to every aspect of the farm, including what she feeds her cows. “We do rotational grazing, so the cows move to new pastures a few times a week,” she says. She is also an avid supporter of Green America’s campaigns on regenerative agriculture and Climate Victory Gardens. “It’s so awesome that we and other farms can do that [sequester carbon].”
Devine Gardens believes that every person should have the right to garden, whether in their own backyard or community gardens. Tina hopes that she can excite as many people as possible to garden and help others succeed in their gardens by sharing advice and knowledge. “I love [gardening]!” Tina says. “That’s the fun thing about it, it’s like you get lost in time.”