Composting


Well, it’s that time of year again – using the compost pile in the garden.

What is compost?  “It is a mixture (compositon) of decomposing vegatable refuse used to fertilize soil.”  It’s uneaten garbage.  You know, unused or uneaten parts of fruits and vegetables (e.g., orange peels, tomato skins, celery tails, onion skins, garlic skins, egg shells, banana peels avacado skins, and many other roots and peels).  Such things are naturally ‘biodegradeable.  They break down easily, releasing their nutrients for future use, specifically to enhance any and all garden-growing efforts. 

Seeds of ANY kind are not allowed.  This includes seeds from tomatoes, avacadoes, grapes, potato ‘eyes,’ apple and pear cores, peach and cherry pits, pineapple tops, etc.  Neither are meat by-products and any kind (e. g. chicken, beef  and pork bones, skin or fatty meat portions that you do not eat).  Those go out in the weekly trash bin for city pick ups. 

Containers for such a project are available at local retailers or free when you sit in at a “compost meeting” usually held each Spring at a county meeting where you live.  That is how I first became aware of such a thing.  With such encouragement,  I have been composting for fifteens years.

The large bins I possess are black, round, hard plastic contianers with holes all around the circumference for airation.   Approximately four feet high and three feet in diameter, two such bins have been placed outside, away from my back foor, but easily accessible in order to dump my garbage.  Hidden behind a small oak and fica tree, their unsighlty presence is not in plain view. 

Other than my collection of kitchen garbage, two large bags of soil are added twice a year.  Once the soil is mixed with my garbage (using a round-nosed shovel and oftimes a pitchfork), water is added.  As it sits and sits there usually over the course of a year, insects and worms, natural inhabitants, bore their way through this seemingly mucky, but organized, mess.  Their presence further enhances and propagates the decomposing process.

After tilling my already used vegatable and herbal garden areas, the compost is added.  It is heavy and a wheelbarrel and shovel are used to bring it to my desired areas.  Mix, mix and mix some more.  This project has taken me two to three days to prepare before I am satisfied to plant.

All in all, it is worth it.  Hard work usually is.  Satisfaction is guaranteeed year-in and year-out once I see the buds of my labor and its magnificent harvest.  I delight in the opportunity to walk out my back door, gather what fruits I need for a days’ meal, returning the usnused portions to the bins.  It is a continuous cycle.

Until next time, happy gardening!

A. K. Buckroth

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