Who’s excited about composting in 2019?
I am! That’s not surprising as I’ve been excited about compost for a while now and I don’t see that abating. It’s true that I’ve been away for the last few weeks and haven’t been able to actively compost myself. However yesterday I was very pleased to take a peek at the HCC heap when I got back. I know that Zoe has been working hard to shift all of your lovely kitchen scraps and integrate them into the heap. Also working hard were the many soldier fly larvae that the heap is home to in this warm weather. They certainly have a voracious appetite and have ensured that the heap did not overflow with rotting scraps, breaking them down instead.
I even managed to do a little composting while in the northern hemisphere. Christmas in the northeast USA was a little warm this year. While I was lucky enough to enjoy a dusting of snow of Christmas Eve the warm temperatures meant that the soil had not yet frozen. So I decided to take care of the veggie scraps that had built up from Christmas dinner preparations and carry out a little soil amendment at my in-laws place. Veggie scraps had been disposed of in a pile in the veggie patch. This is a responsible way to dispose of this waste in that part of the world although of course it means that the bunnies and squirrels and birds will steal the best bits before anything breaks down. To ruin their fun I dug a trench right into the veggie patch and buried the scraps in there. Then we dusted the scraps with ash from the wood fires we had been burning. The alkalinity of the wood ash should balance out with the veggie scraps which will tend to be acidic. If anyone in Canberra has wood ash from untreated wood then the HCC will happily dispose of it!
I was having so much fun with the digging and rearranging of the veggie scraps that my niece got stuck in too. Thanks for the help M! It was a great way to warm up on a cold winter morning. But digging and composting is not everyone’s cup of tea. I am fascinated by the degradation process and like to think about the biological and molecular changes in things like potato peelings and mango pits but I know it is a bit of a niche interest. Others, like my sister-in-law (M’s Mom) recognise that composting is a worthwhile thing to do but find the whole thing a bit daunting. How to properly manage a backyard heap so that it doesn’t become an ugly, stinky part of the garden? perhaps even one that attracts pests? That’s something that community composting can help with. The HCC heap operates much better because it receives rich inputs from so many households. And community members can rest assured that their organic wastes are being taken care of in a responsible, climate-friendly manner without having to manage their own heap or even think about it much at all.
So even though I will remain to be very excited about compost I am not actually expecting or even hoping for most of the community to be excited about the actual composting process. Rather, I would like to see it become perfectly normal for everyone to seperate out their kitchen scraps and have somewhere for them to be processed without much of a mental burden.
Of course if anyone wants to nerd out with me and learn more about composting then I’m happy with that too 😉