Almost compost

Joanne and I went to Clapham Farmers' Market and bought some plants -- mostly lettuce, some flowers and a funky shrub. We spent much of the afternoon in the garden repotting most of the plants and planting seeds.

The most exciting part about this afternoon was that we got to use the compost we've been making for the last year. In doing so, we learned a few things about compost:

  • It's dark, wet and stinky. Actually, it's whole lot like manure.
  • Corn cobs really need to be smashed to bits before you compost them.
  • Whole fruit or veg needs to be crushed or at least cut up. Most fruit and veg will be mush after a year, but it won't be dark, wet, stinky compost.
  • Paper -- even shredded paper -- is probably not the best idea. It doesn't really compost. It turns into a slick, stinky mass of very wet pieces of paper. We might try mixing the paper around next time.
  • Those "compostable" plastic bags that Sainsbury's puts Fairtrade bananas in? They're not really compostable. We found one at the bottom of the compost heap. It didn't seem any different from the day we put it in there almost a year ago.

This is what we learned from using our compost for the first time. Your mileage may vary. Despite some hiccups and the smell, it was really exciting to see everything we threw into our composter turn into actual compost. It wasn't perfect, but the earthworms seemed to like it, which I took to be a pretty good thing.