Thursday, July 22, 2010

Good Food...Good Soil

I love dirt!

To be a little more exact, I love microbes. Nematodes, protozoa, Bacteria, fungus, mycelium and many more fascinate me. One of my favorite books is Teaming with Microbes. I know way to much about compost, but I feel I must learn more. Seeing what was waste turn into something akin to gold (although different in colour) thrills me. There are composting worms in my home and I look at them everyday. Experimenting with compost/worms/bacteria/bokashi/fermenting is something I an passionate about.

People have looked at me strangely while picking-up bagged leaves out of back alleys.
We try not to throw away anything that can so easily be turned into compost. If you throw away compostibles (that you probably paid for, so your throwing away your money, you might even have to pay/bag for garbage pick-up) then buy fertilizer for your veggies...well it doesn't make sense to my distracted, yet highly compostible brain.

Don't misunderstand, compost is not fertilizer. It is food for your soil microbes. If you feed them, they will feed your veggies and your veggies will feed you. If you have ever had a tomato grown with compost and vine know how much better they taste than even organic tomatoes from the store. Health soil grows health and yummy veggies.

One of the easiest ways of making compost is to just pile compostable things on the ground and keep it moist (not wet, not dry.) "Like a rung out sponge." is the general consensus. If it starts to stink add some dry fallen leaves, shredded cardboard or shredded paper. (I like leaves because they would otherwise go to the land fill. Cardboard and paper can be recycled.) In a year, under the top layer of stuff, you'll have compost. If you want it faster, stir it every 4 days-ish for 2 weeks-ish, then let it sit for 2-4 months-ish. (It's better if it sits...some say. Others say not. I can never seem to wait.)
You can also contain the pile with chicken wire or a bin made of pallets. Almost anything will work. Don't be fooled into thinking you need to buy something because you don't. Well, maybe a garden fork. Besides, it is fun to scrounge for stuff. One persons garbage, another persons treasure...and that.

GardenWeb has a forum called Soil, Compost and Mulch if you wish to learn more, not that I won't tell you more but probably not in a timely fashion. Use the search engine.

We found the book Compost Stew in our library. Very cute and good to help your children to get into composting. (Not that mine are all that into composting. They are some of the people I was talking about earlier.) If you know any other book about composting for children (or me!) please let me know.


  1. I love composting, although I let The Hubby do it. We rent so we have a small backyard but we've carved out space for two composters. We hardly throw anything away because we can compost and recycle so much! It also helps that we use cloth diapers.

  2. There are only two houses on our block who compost. These are the same two house with intact garbage bags when the garbage men come.

    Crows love to rip through garbage bags.