Saturday, November 13, 2010

I Compost, Therefore I Am

You cannot know the true joy of life until you've turned over leaf litter and sniffed deeply the sweet, raw odor of a compost pile in heat. By all other accomplishments available to you on this earth, and this includes even the engineering of a concrete and steel pylon six-lane bridge, you will not know success until you have made your own compost.
I am at this time gathering my leaves and mowing them into bits and putting them in the large compost bins that Montgomery County graciously gives to me free of charge. (Look at this picture that Patsy took about a month ago of my deck overlooking the forest behind my house. See all of the leaves that are available to me for my compost.) I can turn mountains of leaves into small bags of leaf bits in just a few hours. Even without any other green matter, the brown leaves are already toasty warm in their bins. A good compost recipe requires layers of green grass commingled with brown leaf matter. I also collect my kitchen waste and I bury it into the leaf bins. And no, I don't have rats or mice invading the pile. I do have in the summertime, tons and tons of earthworms, living in my bin, and helping to make rich, fertile material for my garden.

In the springtime, my multiple bins of leaves are all reduced enough in mass that I can turn all of them into one. And then finally, I distribute the rich material into my flower beds.

Last year in early spring, I used the partially composted leaves as the bottom layer of my lasagna garden, which I built up with sticks and newspaper and compost and garden soil, and which grew so delightfully warm that I was able to grow lettuce on top of it very early in the season.

At this time of year, beware my proselytizing. I am a fanatic about composting. And I am on a quest to convert as many of you as possible. But be not afraid, you too can compost. And if  I see you raking your leaves into the street for the county to sweep away into those foul-smelling vacuum trucks, I might judge you for your wastefulness. The Putterer

1 comment:

  1. We composters do tend to be kind of messianic about it, don't we? I'm the guy who drives around the neighborhood picking up all the bags of leaves everybody else puts out. The neighbors probably think I'm nuts. But I bring them home and grind up the leaves and spread the needles around in the outer beds. I'm jealous, though, that your county provides composting bins. Around here in Virginia Beach, that'd probably be considered something akin to Communism.