Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Composting, can you dig it?

At long last, I am finally starting my backyard compost pile. This particular initiative has been long overdo at my house, where every year I buy the expensive organic fertilizer (basically someone else's compost) to spread around my vegetables, herbs, and flowers. This year, spurred on by a backyard makeover that produced a nice new vegetable plot, I decided to make good on my promise to carry out the kitchen scraps and mount a concerted composting effort.

My grandmother used to have a compost pile for her garden (mostly flowers and a few tomato plants), and she was anything but a "crunchy" tree-hugger. I watched as she deposited old lettuce, potato peelings, egg shells, melon rinds, and coffee grounds into her lidded metal can in the garage. Then, when it was full, Grandma dumped the scraps from her "waste bin" into her wheelbarrow, trucked them to a tucked-away corner of her backyard, and shoveled them onto the organic pile. In my mind's eye, I can see her now, dressed in a pastel cotton blouse and a prim khaki skirt from Talbot's, turning over the compost with her pitchfork to mix the layers before shoveling some off the bottom for her flower beds. I remember this image vividly, since even as a child it struck me as very earthy for a lady who got her hair done twice a week and liked to have a kir before dinner.

However, even these treasured memories did not instill in me enough of a sense of compost-confidence to try it out without further instruction. Ever since the snow melted, I have intended to get a couple of good books on the subject from my local library, but just never got around to it. Then, two weeks ago I read this great how-to guide posted on the blog from Seventh Generation. Now, I'm ready!

If you are also thinking about organic gardening and looking for a better way to feed your plants, check out this really simple step-by-step guide to composting and pile on!

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