Compost


Blimey! I mean, what the ?*@$! Who’d have thought it?

Countless blogs on such controversial topics as the planting in the long border at Great Dixter, or the right way to make aubergine dip, and barely a murmur of disagreement from the millions of regular correspondents.

But a few simple observations on compost and…..wow! I stuck my metaphorical fork in the a big steaming pile of verbal compost, turned it over and struck, well, if not black gold, then certainly a rich seam of contention.

As Mal sensibly pointed out, my estimate of 17 years to make compost was a little on the long side. I stand corrected. Hyperbole has no place in the blogosphere.

Other correspondents, more committed and conscientious – dammit I’m man enough to say it – just better gardeners than me expressed disappointment at my stance. A gentle, almost parental disappointment, but still enough to make me feel as dirty as the compost I so frivolously buy instead of make.

But not Louise! The sole kindred spirit out there who owned up to having a spot of bother with the mysterious alchemy herself! I hear you, sister!

And despite all of the suggestions as to how I could improve the process, I’m still not sure how to solve the problem of volume: since last week’s post I have managed to conjure up another 2 bags of garden rubbish. That makes around 30 bags a year. Even if that turns into compost in under a year that’s still a compost heap roughly the size of….my allotment. Hmmm.

But never fear! I have come up with a fiendishly clever plan that keeps everyone happy!

  1. I have lots of compost-able stuff I don’t want
  2. You are dead keen to make lots of compost
  3. It’s the season of giving
  4. So….

…this week’s Special Offer! Just send in one stamped addressed envelope and I promise I will fill it up with lovely compost-able material and send it back. Before you know it – hey, probably before the letter even falls through your letterbox – you’ll have your very own pot full of Drooling-brand compost!

Yo! Ho! Ho!

On the ipod while feeling festive: Hot Chocolate / Everyone’s a winner. Yes, you too! Don’t delay! Send in today!

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This is not a controversial blog. If you come here looking for divisive views or contentious polemic then you will, by and large, be disappointed. I’m a simple man and my only aim is to bore you with harmless tales of my vegetable growing exploits.

This week, however, I tread on slightly crumblier soil. There may even be some offence caused. But first some scene setting.

I spent this afternoon tidying up in the garden. The Magnolia in the middle of the lawn has been dropping leaves for weeks and the borders are full of things that have been slowly dying for some time.

After only an hour I had 5 bin liners full of green waste sitting on the patio. Now what do to with them? And this is where I part company with some proper gardeners. I took them to the tip.

That’s right: I threw them away! I didn’t take them to the bottom of the garden, I didn’t put all that lovely organic matter, wet leaves, stalks, plants, on to my compost heap to continue the cycle of veggie life by making my own compost.

I don’t even have a compost heap!

I have come to the conclusion that making compost is a green sham. In my own experience – unscientific, I grant you – it takes approximately 17 years for garden waste to rot down into something that is remotely usable in the garden. During which time you will generate a further 1,347 bags of garden waste.

This would require a compost heap roughly the size of Belgium, along with several labourers to turn and dig over the compost to “speed” the transformation into compost.

Or you can take it to the tip, where it gets taken to a local farm and turned into compost which is them resold (I checked!) and buy some organic compost from the garden centre to use in the meantime. And that Belgium-sized corner of your garden that is now freed up can be used to grown some more vegetables!

Brilliant, n’est ce pas?!?!?

On the ipod while…um…looking after the environment: Johnny Cash / Forty shades of green. And all of them in a bin liner in the boot of the car.