Posts Tagged ‘compost’


I love the miracle of compost. There is a circularity to it, the way plants in their dying return nourishment to the soil that sustained their lives. I have compost bins, of course, wire frames in which I layer garden refuse, kitchen scraps and dry material. I compost vegetable matter only, because of our resident wildlife, and keep a wire mesh lid on the currently active bin. It’s not entirely satisfactory. I cannot raise a hot enough temperature to kill all the weeks seeds. I’m envious of our local Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, which receives regular donations of spent grain and hops from nearby North Coast Brewing Companyto boost their compost processing temperature.


Sieved compost in one wheelbarrow, sticks in the other.

Right now I’m digging out my favorite kind of compost, a huge pile of chippings from a neighbor’s tree trimming and bush pruning that has sat in the meadow behind the house for about three years. The chippings were not great. Even now, the pile contains a lot of sticks, which I have spread under my orchard trees. They’ll decompose in time, and meanwhile provide some deterrent to the meadow grasses.

Stick pile

All that’s left of a huge stick pile.

Sieved out from the sticks is the treasure: rich black compost, free of weeds, to spread as mulch around the garden. The plants are smiling.