Compost


Here I am in the messiest corner of our backyard, with the compost tin from the kitchen, beside the compost pile. I come from a long line of composters and gardeners. Even in the scussiest of share houses, in the least settled times, I have always had a compost heap. It feels so wrong not to.

Every food scrap, garden weed, vacuum detritus, torn paper and bit of organic material goes here. We even tend to bring home food scraps from packed lunches. It's the full three pile aerobic set up. Large pieces of plant material are piled up nearby and run over with the lawn mower when G cuts the grass, then added to the heap. This means that our piles get quite hot and rot quickly. Close up, it does smell a little and from time to time attracts doves and mice. But I quite like the smell, better in the backyard than festering in our kitchen.

It's a pungent smell of decay transforming rubbish into black crumbly compost. To be spread on the vegetable and flower beds, to fuel new plant growth. Which then will ultimately return to the compost heap and back to the garden in a circle of life, death, decay and renewal. I find this cycle easy to accept in the plant world, not so easy when it comes to people world, but somehow in the really black times, this plant world cycle has been a comfort of sorts, and a reminder that we are all part of a bigger picture. As for the animal life, well they are part of our world too and are welcome in the garden and the compost. Somehow in the garden, they never seem to get out of control or become pests.

I think some people are resistant to the idea of composting because it is seen to be dirty, smelly and ugly. And that using an insinkerator or putting it in the rubbish bin somehow makes it go away. It doesn't. The problem is just transferred somewhere else and becomes uglier, fetid pockets of landfill . Unless it gets taken away with other green waste, to sit in an uber compost heap and turned into something useful. But if we get comfortable with rot and decay, it becomes this endless source of nutrient for the garden, for growing organic food cheaply, for growing beautiful flowers and trees that attract birds and insects to the garden.  And it doesn't have to be as ugly as ours, my maternal grandparents had a lovely screened utility section in their garden, with orderly compost bays and a potting shelf. Maybe it's time to rework ours. Still an imperfect looking system for compost is better, in my mind, than none at all.

October's SPC theme is imperfection, the down and dirty you, the messy, gross and ugly you, the side of yourself that you always try to hide, give us some insight into your dreadful secrets. This can be your physical self or your personal space or within your wider life. Be not afraid! I don't know that compost is a dreadful secret, but it is messy. I was tempted to run and hide from this theme, because afterall, who really wants to draw attention to their ugly side(s)? But after mulling it over, and the few I've seen so far, I think it's going to be quite interesting. Visit other SPC'ers and their imperfections here.


Looking over flower beds to the broadbeans. The beauty of compost in action.

4 comments:

  1. You have a splendid way of making decay and compost sound anything but messy. And the end result of your compost pile certainly creates a glorious flower garden.
    Wonderful photos and way to treat our earth.

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  2. One of the things I loved about the house we were going to buy was that it had a compost heap... silly me, not to realise that I could make one right here in this house/garden that we are renting.
    You look glorious by the way - I can see you are in your element in the garden.

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  3. Compost is cool.
    Having to hire 3x mammoth skips to eradicate the 'loosely defined' one your property came with is not.
    And i'm pretty sure there shouldn't have been a pair of jocks in ours ...

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  4. We don't have a yard big enough for a compost heap but I have had a worm farm for 10 years and despite the occasional smelly hiccup, I love it too.

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