Making Black Gold

Making Black Gold

I want to build a compost area, yet I am flummoxed by the prospect. Why do I have such a block about building a compost heap? As with anything, once I actually build one or two, I will have the hang of it. I could build a fish pond in a morning with just one trip to Lowes, now, but for at least a decade, the prospect of a fishpond had me paralyzed with bewilderment. Now that I have built, I think, six fish ponds, I can just throw one together. But a compost area? Maybe I just need to do it.

Whatever is built has to be inoffensive, because I do not want to create something unpleasant for my neighbors. Anticipating offense is where I get muddled. I am imagining something with cedar posts, and black lobster pot mesh wire, which may blend into the woodlands. Apparently compost areas have bays, maybe three. The first bay accepts yard waste. The second bay is left alone while it ‘cooks’. The third bay offers good compost.

But what about kitchen waste? Is that like dust-bunnies, where mine are cute and harmless, but yours are shocking and gross? My spilled ketchup is a pleasant memory, but yours gives me the heebie-jeebies. And can neighbors commingle kitchen waste?

From my childhood, I recall a lot of hostility toward a family who composted, because their compost stunk. So much so, I believed they stunk. But my Gram said it was not the fault of composting. They were composting animal products. If they just stuck to veggie peels, she said, they would be fine. It was a big compost controversy, with a lot of opinions and a lot of judgement. I get nervous just thinking about it.

Garbage disposal is changing. The old days of putting a barrel of waste out on the curb and expecting unconditional pick up are slipping away. Good composting is going to become more important than ever, plus it yields great soil. I want the soil, and the feeling of spinning straw into gold.

What if I have three roomy bays constructed, and landscape around them? I think I will work in that direction.


Barbie Burr

Barbie Darwin Burr was born in La Jolla, California into a Navy family. Moving every year made gardening difficult, but not impossible for her father, a disciple of Scott and Helen Nearing and a man with a vast ability to imagine and create.

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