But really good dirt is a labor of love and always a work in progress. It may be in the single digits outside here in Colorado, but the efforts to create and improve our dirt go on all year round.
is my stove-top compost bucket. As you can see, it’s nothing fancy, just a large food storage container. I keep it handy for various things–egg shells, coffee grounds and filters, vegetable peelings, some leftovers gone over (no meat or bones). When it’s full, as above, it goes out into the bigger compost bin that sits in the corner of one garden area. It’s not a huge bin, doesn’t come up to my waist, even, but it makes great compost and quickly. Thanks to our 300+ days of sunshine, even when it’s quite cold outside, it gets warm in there and things break down in all seasons.
If you don’t have this kind of climate, don’t worry. Before I met G, I composted just by tossing stuff in one particular area of my small, fenced off garden. It froze in the winter and in the spring I’d just work it in when I dug up the garden and it worked fine. You don’t need to spend a ton of money on fancy things to hold your compost, especially if you’re doing it on a small scale.
We also compost most of our paper towels and maybe 3/4 of our junk mail after shredding. Can’t put slick, colored pages in, but even a random window envelope shreds up small enough to be added.
Dirt is the foundation of any garden. If you don’t have good, rich dirt, your plants won’t be happy. You can choke them with fertilizer but it’s like trying to build a house on a shaky foundation. Might work for a while, but eventually the house will weaken and collapse.
I love composting. It makes me feel good to know that 1) I’m not adding degradable stuff to landfills wrapped in non-degradable plastic, 2) That I am adding to the birth, death, rebirth cycle of life in a tiny way. The scraps from the things I peel, chop and shred to make great food for us go back into the land where they are transformed into the medium that will, year after year, give us more good things to eat. I love that. I love looking at all those scraps and instead of thinking “garbage” as many might, I think, “Oh, goodie! More dirt!”
If you want to help the earth these days, go out and make some good dirt!