So Wrong and Yet So Right: The Underachiever’s Guide to Compost

Going Green is now officially fashionable.  Not only must one recycle but to be accepted in the best social circles, one’s carbon footprint must be as dainty and petite as Cinderella’s glass slipper.  So as friends brag about their re-usable water bottles and stacks of newspaper, I just smile and say, “I compost”

So before I expound upon my greenish ways, let’s review the basic rules of composting:

  1. Use equal parts of brown and green
  2. Use at least two bins, one for adding compost, and the other for already composted compost.
  3. Keep your compost moist but not wet
  4. Position your compost bins in a sunny spot away from nutrient-sucking tree roots
  5. Ensure that the temperature of the compost is at least a steamy 135 deg F (57 C) to kill pathogens and weed seeds

Compost is a gardener’s best tool in building a beautiful garden.  I use it whenever I plant a new plant, I amend existing beds in the spring and fall, and I use partially composted leaves as mulch in areas that are not ornamental.  And I use all my own compost.  So let me show you a few pics of my “perfect” compost bin:

So as you can see, my compost pile is a far cry from the perfect setup.  Instead of rotating bins, I have one round length of fencing that, at this time of year, is overflowing.  The white plastic bag contains a bunch of banana peels my mom dropped off a week ago that I haven’t incorporated yet, my brown to green ratio is about 90% to 10%, it is only moistened when it rains, it is directly located under a very large liveoak tree, and I have never taken its temperature, but I’m pretty sure it would be pretty close to that of the surrounding environment.  I only follow one guideline:  I generally don’t compost weeds or rose cuttings due to blackspot.

Even so, My compost is awesome.  I use it to amend all my beds in the spring and in the fall even when I have to pull out the tree roots before I use it.  It is the mainstay of my gardening program. “So what  is the point of this blog?” you may ask.

So my point is: Compost Happens.  Whether you get involved or not, leaves break down and natural things decay.  I know it looks messy but I guarantee you that this fall I will have more than enough “black gold” for my extensive garden and even if I don’t, compost is cheap and plentiful at Lowes.  So don’t sweat it.  It’s not rocket science so start a compost bin or pile or whatever.  Turn it occasionally or not – it will eventually break down either way.  Not only will your garden benefit from it but when the folks around you are bragging about how “green” they are, impress their socks off; just smile and say, “I compost.”

Happy Composting and remember to “Bee” Positive!

P.S.  For those of you who contacted me worried about my thirsty birds, never fear.  I went out at 5 AM this morning, cleaned out the fountain and added plenty of clean fresh water.  This one’s for you:


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