The Accidental Compost

Organic Wonder

Every year I say I’m going to start a compost pile but then lazy wins out.  Whenever I toss a banana peel or an egg-shell I think, “if only I had a place to compost.”  Part of my ambivalence is where I would put it.  Compost  needs sun and room for turning and both are at a premium in my back yard.

Two years ago my son collected fallen leaves from our Chinese Pistache in early October to use in his spooky Halloween display.  He filled a large Rubbermaid bin with dead leaves but forgot about them in the excitement of the day.  When I rediscovered the bin, decomposition was under way so I decided to snap on the lid and let nature takes its course.  I pried back the lid every few months and checked on the decomposing leaves. I gave them a quick toss with my gloved hands, closed the bin, then went about my business.

By the end of last summer I had compost!  Sometimes lazy gardeners can catch a break.  I love the texture and the smell of that wonderful decay.  I know the plants were happy too.  It was  a joyful experience mixing it into the planter beds. I may come over to the dark and loamy side yet.

Composting Recipe:

I jotted the following notes into a notebook two years ago so I would be ready to move from “accidental composter” to the real deal.

In half-inch thick layers:

Combine 3 parts “brown” organic material to one part “green”

3 parts brown includes dried leaves, small twigs, etc.
1 part green includes grass, cut flowers, coffee grounds, egg shells, tea bags and fruit or vegetable peels

Mix into a bin approximately 3′ x 3′ x 3′

Add a small amount of moisture as needed and turn once a week.

Serves several plants.

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