Gardening for me isn’t just about planting things and watching them grow, nor is it eating vegetables that we grew. For me, the real miracle is how things break down, back into soil.
We have several compost bins at work right now in our yard. The black bin is for food scraps and is sealed to keep the rodents out and the worms in. The bin is fairly efficient, however the final product is quite sludgy and isn’t suitable for use in the garden, probably because I don’t add enough dried leaves and grass. The bin never seems to fill up completely, but every few years I shovel it out and mix it into the garden compost (in the big wooden bins) where it rots for another year (or two) before it is sieved and used.
The things that never seem to rot in the compost is egg shells, pits and avocado skins. I now just throw out the pits and avocado skins and save the shells separately for sprinkling around my plants to keep off the slugs. Whether or not broken egg shells really do deter slugs, or if that is just superstition, will be the topic of a future post.
The open garden compost piles are also really efficient. At the end of the summer, the bin on the left was overflowing, and was about five feet deep. I covered it with a tarp and bricks (mostly to discourage people from putting more branches and leaves there) and now the pile is about a foot deep. I have been adding stuff to the pile at the right all winter, and each week it rots down more.
The finished compost is stored in the big green bins until spring, until I spread it around the garden. You can see from the picture on the left, how fine and light the compost is. (Hmmm, I think that “fine and light” is how other people describe pastry). I am really excited about putting this in the raspberries and the flower beds in the front – but it never seems to go as far as I would like.