It’s grey, it’s cold, the temperatures haven’t got above 5C in the last few days and it’s already March. We should be out there enjoying the longer evening light, but it’s freezing – literally. This is wrong, this is depressing – gardeners all over the country are suffering withdrawal symptoms. Just as I was about to give up (again – see June 2012 blog), our compost has restored my faith.
It was time to change bins yesterday, and bag up the more or less mature compost in the wooden compost bin. We’ve been ‘community’ composting since October 2011. There are probably now around 20 people registered to bring their kitchen waste to our compost bins in the practical small white caddies supplied by Brighton & Hove City Council.
Each compost bin takes about six months to fill; we then leave it for another six months to mature. We unpacked our first mature bin in October 2012 and it looked delicious. We used it to mulch our raised vegetable beds and mini-orchard. This is the second load of compost; some of it will go into the mix for the planters at Preston Circus. Because it has had to mature over the winter months, it hasn’t broken down quite as much as the ‘summer’ compost, but it’s rich, crumbly and full of worms.
Last year, we had to re-home worms from my garden compost bin to set up an active colony. They’ve certainly taken over. Last year, we also had to de-home some small rodents who had burrowed into the compost bin from underneath. All it took was building a brick platform, raising the compost bin on a pallet and lining everything with chicken wire. This year, it’s been colder but no sign of unwanted guests.
We thought we might have problems with the wrong stuff being put in the compost, but we seem to have got a good balance; thank you everybody for following our composting guidelines. Our composting person, Mark, keeps an eye on it, and deposits a layer of grass cuttings or shredded cardboard if it doesn’t look healthy. We’ve put stable manure in there, some leaf mould and the spent compost from grow bags. It works – and then it’s about patience and trusting to nature. Very good for us; very good for morale.
Compost: nature just gets on with it, transforms waste into goodness and gives us something for nothing. Just wish the weather would now oblige …