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.
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.