Tuesday, 4 September 2007

The Rot Has Set In; I'm Glad To Say

It's funny how something that started out as a practical way to recycle food waste has become - according to people around me - an obsession. Regular readers know that Mrs C and I are keen gardeners; composting is a natural and not unusual part of that process; but somewhere along the line I seem to have been swept along by a tidal wave of rotting vegetation and aerobic decomposition. I suppose it started with a simple interest in how to make the compost process as efficient as possible - not unreasonable, so I applied 'A' Level Biological (D Grade) knowledge to understand the relevance of the difference between anaerobic decomposition (slow, wet and smelly) and anaerobic decomposition (fast, moist and aromatic).
Most evenings when adding something to my two-bin system, I turn the contents to let the air circulate; and I do add something every day: do not be surprised if you find used teabags or your lunchtime apple core disappearing form your desk (what do you mean you don't leave them on your desk?).
I also quickly learnt the benefit of adding nitrogenous compost accelerators, for example chicken manure or urine (and with my new compost bins above waist height that is quite a challenge I can tell you). Other compost accelerators include fresh animal manure and I think this was the tipping point between interest and obsession. On countryside walks with Mrs C and the dog I am eager to gather souvenirs to take home to add richness to my own little corner of the garden.

But the rewards for dedication to this decaying art are great: the harvest of rich peaty material spread from my heap to the garden is only bettered by the harvest of fruit and flowers fed by my rotten viand. Almost a metaphor of life: the cycle of things failing and decaying only to regenerate new life and growth (blimey, I almost shed a tear then).


UrbanCowgirl said...

It sounds like I could do with some help rotting. My compost bin has been in sheltered situ for nigh on 10 months and I'm not seeing any real progress. It used to be warm and smell quite nice (!) but recently the break-down rate has broken down, if you know what I mean. I have stirred things around on a few occasions quite vigorously, and I added store-bought accelerator quite liberally at one stage. But no joy. I am not seeing compost. I see some dried up grass cuttings instead. I add stuff to it every week or so.

O Compost Expert! I beg thy assistance! ;-)

Crofty said...

Watch this space for advice from the Compost Doctor - I may have found a new niche!