Compost is captivating. There is something enthralling about the hidden process which, with negligible human interference, turns the Prodigal’s dinner into rich dark organic matter.
We have been making the stuff to support our made from scratch, not out of a bottle, garden for over five years now. Coffee grounds, tea leaves, and egg shells, together with trimmings and peelings from fruit and vegetable prep are gathered in a compost pail under the kitchen sink. When the pail is full, somebody performs one of those arduous duties of domestic drudgery which are on a par with sending small children up chimneys (like emptying the dishwasher, or matching socks): the pail is taken out, and its contents emptied into the composter.
Our primary composter is a black plastic thing which looks like a Dalek with its edges smoothed off. Into it goes the contents of the kitchen pail, garden clippings, some of our fallen leaves, the occasional bucket of wood ash, and sawdust for balance. The growing season is not particularly long here, so I have been known to add an organic accelerant in the Spring.
This year, we added a secondary composter to the process. It is of the two compartment rotatable drum variety. It came in a not so flat pack and was assembled by the Boy (who should now be called the Youth) and me. Compartment one contains the compost from the bottom of the debonair Dalek. Compartment two has the next to bottom material. That left enough room in the primary composter to re-hide all the biodegradable stuff which the snow had kindly been covering for us over the winter.
Compost is captivating. There is something absurdly self-satisfying about spreading homemade humus over the vegetable patch and in about the perennials. It is not having saved the planet through recycling and lessening the landfill. That is an accidental. It is about getting goodness into our food and producing chemical free blooms; but, it is more about seasons and their rituals and their turnings.