Belle said I can’t keep buying bags of compost.
So I asked the worms, ‘What’s up with the compost production?’
Worms said, in a thousand tiny but synchronised voices, ‘Who the hell do you think we are? Some hybrid monster sandworms from Arrakis?’
‘Jeez,’ I said. ‘Just asking.’
‘Well,’ they said. ‘You need to lower your expectations. We’ll make our body weight in compost every day but have you seen how skinny we are?’
‘We need more worms,’ I said.
‘We’re on it like a car bonnet,’ they said.
‘You’re having sex in there?’
‘Sex and food – it’s a worm’s world. Three months and you’ll be speaking to two thousand worms.’
So, not much worm compost until their planned population explosion.
I tried to talk to the compost pile but it wouldn’t talk back. Instead, Google told me we’re looking at six months for natural compost heaps to break down into usable compost, which is as good as useless because I’ve got seeds to plant now. Besides, the chickens keep eating everything I put on it.
I felt the need to consult the bible: Moosewood Restaurant Kitchen Garden: Creative Gardening for the Adventurous Cook
The bible said there is a fast composting method (2-4 weeks!) that seems superior in every way to the ‘slow method’, every way but effort:
- fast decomposition allows for less leaching of nutrients by rains and snow
- it’s ready when you need it (worms take note)
- actively decaying organic matter contains more beneficial soil micro-organisms than slowly decaying compost
- the higher temperatures created destroy many undesirable weed seeds, insect larve and disease germs
The effort is in turning the pile with a fork every three days.
So I asked the tool shed, ‘Where’s the fork?’
And the tool shed didn’t say anything because we don’t have a fork. Remember I’m on a spending clamp-down here, so buying a fork is out of the question.
Back to Google for ideas and I see all these rotating compost bins, most of them selling for $100+. I forage in my garden and find an old bin with a lid, an old strap and an old broom stick.
Luckily the toolshed had a drill.
About half an hour later I had a homemade rotating compost bin two thirds full of old leaves, swimming pool algae (another story), some vegetable waste that I diverted from the worms and some lawn cuttings.
I’ve already gone a little off script because I did a test rotation and then a little later I got excited and rotated it for Belle.
‘Very clever,’ she said.