Thursday, April 14, 2005

Compost is Cooking

What a feeling of satisfaction to see an empty compost bin almost full again. By tomorrow it should be getting pretty warm and millions of microscopic organisms will be having a picnic devouring many barrowloads of African Daisies, alyssum, gazanias, couch grass, rose prunings, bark and twigs, leaves and horse manure. All of it, except the horse manure, had been fed through the mulcher so it's nice and fine and will decompose very quickly. I put two loads of bark and twigs through at the finish and the inside of the mulcher is almost as clean as when it was new. I try to have a supply of hard, dry bark on hand for this purpose as it's the best way I know of to clean the mulcher.

Whilst I don't want the year to go any faster than it is, or the winter to arrive any sooner, I am looking forward to collecting fallen leaves to add to the compost. I put them through the mulcher too. I often wondered if all deciduous tree leaves had equal nutritional value. On two occasions I have read recently that oak leaves have a higher nitrogen content than other leaves. Isn't it lucky that the leaves we usually collect are oak leaves. A couple of years ago, whilst looking for a good fall of leaves in one of the inner suburbs, I turned into a small street where the leaves were banked up nearly a metre deep against the kerb. I asked the owner of one house would she mind if I collected the leaves for my compost heap? This dear lady is in her 80s and was so delighted that someone wanted to take the leaves away as it was too big a job for her. So last year my husband and I went back to the same house and cleared the whole front yard. In a few weeks we will pay her another visit.

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