When you move from a tiny city block to a sprawling country one – not acreage or anything, just a good-sized, old-fashioned yard – there are a few things you feel you must have. One of these is a compost bin.
My Dad has always done compost. I have not-very-fond childhood memories of making my way down to the very far corner of the backyard, under the jacarandah with the swooping magpie, to throw a bucket of festering scraps into the malodorous heap. He assures me it never smelled, that it was just my overactive imagination, but I those little fruit flies still haunt my dreams, so I’m thinking we have a, ahem, difference of opinion going on.
All that aside, and with Green on my side, I knew the time had come. Fortunately, the Council in this area is very pro-active and put on a series of workshops on how to make compost. I know what you’re thinking, how hard can it be to chuck a few scraps in a bin? I thought so too, until I was introduced to the science of it all.
I went under sufferance – and because they were giving away free compost bins that reminded me of Dr Who’s Dialek’s (only black) and kitchen tidies in tasteful shades of cream and beige. But the guys who took the class were SO enthusiastic and informative, that I came home a complete convert. To the point, where The Builder was referring to the bin as my ‘new best friend’ for several weeks after – watching in amusement as I cut up choice titbits for its delectation.
I have to admit that six or so months later, some of the glow has worn off my relationship with the bin. It just didn’t do what it was supposed to do. I followed the instructions to the letter – one part green waste (nitrogen) to three parts carbon (think paper, dead leaves etc). I aerated. I watered when I thought it was necessary. And still no HEAT. Heat which is necessary to actually turn the scraps and muck into useable compost.
So I did what any sensible girl would do. I told the bin that things had to change. I shook things up. I put in more nitrogen. I stirred up the bottom layers. I moved the thing from its picturesque setting under the honeysuckle to a much more practical spot by the garage. And now I’m waiting.
I’m giving the bin some space to make up its mind about whether it wants our relationship to work out. I’m biding my time.
And, in the meantime, I’m sending my oldest son out to feed it on a regular basis.
Creating a whole new generation of sweet childhood memories.