Monday, April 6, 2009

WHAT A HEAP OF... !


The bag containing a bunch of carrots with tops, which had clearly been in a fridge drawer far too long,  had been sitting on our kitchen counter all day.  I offered to throw it out, and it was that moment I learned that as a family we were going to compost. 


Now I grew up with compost heaps.  Big ones.  Huge piles of rotting fauna and flora, and other things besides, piled up under a rubber tarpaulin which was weighted down by old car tires. They were smelly and steamed in summer.  That's how farms did it in big scale.  But I have a sneaky suspicion that if one were to try such a scheme in Wainscott, East Hampton, the code (or should that be "compost"?) enforcers would be down like a bucket of rotten potatoes! 


No, around here composting would be subtle, contained, sophisticated.  In designer bins, around which one could tour guest with pre-dinner drinks, offering short, assuring comments about recycling, organics, and global warming.  This is the Hamptons, after all!  And with this in mind I surfed the web in order to find such an acceptable item.  Gardeners' World, Home Depot, that sort of thing.  I was amazed at some of the sites that Google turned up.


Apparently there are composting clubs and associations out there.   What on earth do they do at their meetings and conventions?  Bring samples?  Sniff one another's offerings and grade them?  ("Ah, excellent!  Good decomposition, but still with a hint of celery!")  And there was a wonderful line on one of the websites:  Composting has been a spiritually uplifting way of life for thousands of Americans.  I started to have my doubts.


But compost we will, and it will be good for our small "farm" growing tomatoes, eggplant and a selection of herbs.  And it will be in an inexpensive bin tucked around the corner, which the dinner guests won't see.  Unless they want to, of course.  After all, for all we know, they could be members of compost clubs, and make rude remarks about my personal ecology!


Which brings me to my clergy joke. Why are clergy like good compost?  Because spread across the land they do good, but bring them together in one heap and ... (The word fails me.)

7 comments:

Saintly Ramblings said...

You don't need to spend out on a bin - just a heap contained by open planks will do - we have just started digging my large pile that has grown exponentially over the past 6 years, and the compost below is terrific. No cost, no smell, and the cat next door loves to lie on it in winter ....

T said...

Hmm - could you sketch out a plan and send it to me? The bin I am thinking of is 36" diameter by 36" height and costs $30 USD. If planks work out cheaper ...

T said...

Also - do you dig the cat in each season?

Anonymous said...

Even chicken wire around it will work. The key is to contain it and then every so often (weekly?) turn it over (no cats--only vegetative material)and if you want to hasten the break-down process, toss some handfuls of store bought compost. But I just do vegetative kitchen scraps and pruning leftovers. I still need to fence it in so it's contained and generates some heat inside the pile. I will definitely seek out a cocktail tour when I'm next in town....

Rosa Rugosa said...

Sorry, I meant to sign off on the above. Ta ta !!

Saintly Ramblings said...

It's a bit like the sketch on your post - corner posts to which are nailed planks with spaces between to let air flow happen, on three sides. Fourth side needs to be either open or removeable to allow you to dig it. I don't even cover it over - that's what makes it smell. And no - the cat always manages to dash off as I approach it with the garden fork!

T said...

My! Thank you SR for your advice, and you, Rosa Rugosa also. (I have a distinct instinct that I know who you are!!) Let the composting begin!