Compost is often called “black gold”. I think it’s black magic myself, although it’s more like dark brown, and there’s no magic required to make it.
It even works in winter. We keep a plastic garbage can beside the back door where we dump the kitchen scraps on a cold day. To let in oxygen and prevent anaerobic breakdown, it’s drilled with holes at about six-inch intervals. Yes, sometimes the contents freeze and the process stops, but once a thaw sets in it starts up again. By spring we have a nice mushy mess of partially decomposed kitchen scraps to add to the big compost bins at the back of the garden.
Compost is nature in action, with bugs and micro-organisms breaking down once-living things into healthy humus. It happens on the forest floor all the time. The smelly manure pile on my uncle’s farm was compost writ large. It smelled earthy and strong, but not unpleasant– at least not a day or two after the latest steaming offering had been added. I used to get bushels of the well-rotted stuff to bring back to the city for my suburban garden. Continue reading