Gardening (and living) between the stumps. Anything is possible.

Compost, or What Goes Around Comes Around

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On this glorious summer-like day, I sifted compost. I also planted a few more crops, continuing on my planting binge that started yesterday. But the highlight was the compost. Every spring, when the soil on the surface of my raised garden beds is pale, cracked and begging for nourishment, I head for the compost pile. And today, once again, I was delighted to see that my kitchen scraps and coffee grounds have magically turned to rich black compost.

I am a lazy composter, make no mistake about that. I don’t layer materials, unless it happens so. I don’t turn the compost-in-progress, to aerate and mix. I just fill the containers as I have material and let them be. When one is full, I remove the sides, leaving the column untouched, and reassemble nearby to fill again. It works beautifully.

The only real work comes in the spring, when it’s time to put the stuff to use. I don my gardening gloves and wheel the wheelbarrow over the lumpy ground to whatever location the composter occupied the year before. My sifter is a handmade thing, a square of wire mesh hardware cloth stapled to a wood frame. It does its job, letting the fine finished compost fill the wheelbarrow, and separating out the larger pieces that need another season to break down completely. Then wheel to the lucky garden bed, dump, fork, and rake.

It always amazes me how the process happens so quickly. What starts as apple cores and rotten cucumbers turns, in one short year, into nourishment for the next crop of garden plants.

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