Saturday, May 5, 2012

Mama made compost!

Composting may be nature's fertilizer, but I'll be the first to admit that I've been a bit scared by the concept.

After all, doesn't rotting food stink? And we have such a small lot for our home. And I have to work around a grouchy home association and uncertain neighbors...

But that all changed a year ago, when my husband got me a flexible composting bin for Christmas. It was easy to install - insert three poles, use a few zip ties to keep it closed - and all I had to do is add my composting fuel!

From what I had read, composting is about as easy as you could get: layer brown ingredients (straw, dead plants) with green (veggie peels and cores, etc.) and keep it moist, turning periodically. But I will admit, as the summer wore on, I saw no major breakdown in our compost. I bought composting accelerator, and saw nothing. I was getting worried. Have I wasted all these goofy trips to the bin for nothing? 

As spring approached, I realized my poor bin was becoming the leaning tower of compost, so we decided to rebuild it (we're adding landscaping stakes to keep it down). I spent a half-hour pitching out semi-decayed material into my wheelbarrow, and lo and behold: About half-way down, I was finding compost!

I wound up with four large pots filled with composted materials - about the equivalent of a large bag I'd find at the store - that will make my garden happy. My worries were unfounded - we put in the produce, God and nature takes care of the rest!

I still have a wheelbarrow filled with brown and semi-decomposed matter (and a few worms as well) that will get replaced into the bin.

I learned though, that some things do take longer to compost: those snapped-off asparagus stems, corn cobs, brussels sprouts and broccoli stalks. But I'm not deterred.

No excuses here: Those orange peels, apple cores, onion tops...They're all going into the pot this spring and summer. After all, it's for a great cause.

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