Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Compost: you know you've got it right when...

... passers-by stop to admire it.

Recently, one of my Clients told me they'd had a wildlife group visiting the garden, and on their way around the garden the group stopped dead, transfixed by my super-neat compost.

Admittedly, it was looking very nearly at its best, with the sharply-cut edge showing just how thick, dark and peaty the contents are.

Apparently they stopped and stared in awe, then asked how it was done.

My Client, bless them, told them it was all down to their wonderful gardener *blushes* and the group walked on, muttering amongst themselves in envy.

It always makes me laugh when people admire this particular compost heap, as it breaks all the rules: it has a solid slab bottom, solid sleeper sides, no aeration, no contact with the soil for worm access, and I never, ever stir it, mix it, turn it, add activator or anything.

All I do is pile in the herbaceous material, and stand over it with a sword to prevent anyone else adding any forbidden material such as perennial weed roots, citrus, egg shells (yes! don't put egg shells on your compost, they don't rot!) meat scraps and potato/tomato. And non-organic matter, of course.

I also ask my Clients not to put those horrible corn-starch bags in the compost: there is a huge difference between bio-degradeable and compostable, and corn-starch bags will not rot in a domestic sized compost heap - they need the huge scale of the industrial facilities in order to decompose.

(I wrote about these in my three articles on garden waste,  on kitchen waste,  and in case you are interested in reading about the full set, about general recycling.)

I also, as you will remember if you read this blog regularly, take pains to "manage"  my compost heaps: in a nutshell, that means build rectangular pens (throw away those horrible plastic daleks!) fill all the corners, don't make a pyramid in the middle, not too much grass at once, and don't ever cover them with carpet.  And, to make it all really simple and easy to operate, have three of them on the go, and make them at least a yard square. Size really is everything, when composting, and too small simply won't work.

So there you have it: when passers-by stop to admire your compost, you know you are doing it right! 


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