I’ve just had a marvellous morning cleaning out our Aerobin compost bin. That sounds weird, I know, but I genuinely had a good time in the sun, listening to Joel Salatin’s book The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs*, feeding my plants, and being astounded again by the wonders of the natural world. I had been thinking if the composting hadn’t gone far enough I’d have to throw a lot of mess into the green bin. But lo and behold, when I opened the access door on the side of the bin, I was greeted with a solid block of beautiful, rich compost. All our kitchen waste from the past year turned into wonderful food for the garden.
I don’t know what the neighbours plan to do with the garden, but given they have concreted over their whole backyard I don’t think they’re really plant people. Which is sad. But I don’t think they’ll get rid of the beautiful camellia hedge out the front, so I fed that lady well with piles of compost dug into the soil, and dug a bit into some of the potted plants that we will be giving away.
As I transferred the compost out into a bucket, I marvelled at the number of earthworms in there! Mighty, mighty composting soldiers, they had totally broken down the last lot of food scraps I’d added only a few weeks ago (except for the eggshells obviously!). I don’t think I ever actually added any worms to the compost bin but they found their way in there and multiplied like crazy. Much more effective than my worm farm had been, and we were even adding citrus and onion to the pile (you’re not supposed to add citrus or onion to worm farms as the worms won’t eat them and so they don’t break down as fast, but I guess being in the bigger compost bin the worms could just avoid those things).
Coco also had a great time chasing the few errant cockroaches that had dared to venture in.
It bothered me that since we stopped adding to the compost bin a few weeks ago, our household waste in the red bin increased rather a lot. Just useless scraps going into landfill to rot and create greenhouse gases instead of going back into the ground to create rich soil (some stats on that here). So setting up the compost bin when we get to Tassie will be one my first jobs.
I totally understand why some gardeners get a bit obsessive and evangelical about composting…it really does seem like magic!
* I’m partway through Salatin’s book – I’m not sure I agree with everything in his theological approach, but so many of the food and farming principles he espouses are wonderful and inspiring. He genuinely is trying to farm and live in a way that honours God and the way God has made the world, and to encourage others to do the same whether Christian or not (though he definitely has some stern words for Christians in this book!). If I was in the US I’d definitely go to Virginia just to visit his Polyface Farm – it sounds amazing.