Monday, August 29, 2016

"Life is Compost"

Have you ever maintained a compost pile?

 This is mine - a yucky looking mess of coffee grounds, filters, banana peels, apple peels, crushed eggshells, a branch the dogs broke off in their antics, discarded lettuce, carrot peels, and other such stuff that will decompose. The trick is keeping the wet/dry balance correct. If it is too wet, add newspaper, straw, or other dry materials. If it is too dry (which we deal with here in our arid climate), add more greenery or veggie materials. I go heavy on the coffee grounds and kitchen waste because they add a lot of good, wet matter. Any material that will decompose will eventually turn into compost. Could be years. If you want to speed up the process, a correct balance of wet/dry makes a big difference in the time the pile takes to decompose and become use-able compost.

The result, over time, is this:
a rich, dark colored loamy soil to spread around plants as a mulch, or mix into the soil that will offer minerals and a healthy dose of food and encouragement the plants need.

There are different methods of keeping a compost pile. Mine is in a big plastic bin. Others use an open, fenced in enclosure, or make one out of old pallets. Some use several piles, at different stages of completion. As I keep one pile, adding to it every few days, I have to dig into the pile to get to the good stuff, and sometimes I need to screen out the in-process compost from the completed product.

It is really not complicated. You don't need fancy equipment or chemical additives or a compost starter. Compost will happen.

I loved reading this quote, from Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale. Her character, Vida Winter (an author), is speaking. Puts a thoughtful spin on compost.

"Life is compost.
You think that a strange thing to say, but it's true. All my life and all my experience, the events that have befallen me, the people I have known, all my memories, dreams, fantasies, everything I have ever read, all of that has been chucked onto the compost heap, where over time, it has rotted down to a dark, rich, organic mulch. The process of cellular breakdown makes it unrecognizable. Other people call it the imagination. I think of it as a compost heap. Every so often I take an idea, plant it in the compost, and wait. It feeds on that black stuff that used to be a life, takes its energy for its own. It germinates. Takes root. Produces shoots. And so on and so forth, until one fine day I have a story or a novel."

No comments:

Post a Comment