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  • Writer's picturePippa McKinnon

The magic of making compost.

People have been asking me to write and explain the things I get fizzy about in Earthcare and growing, so I’m starting with the magic of making compost.

We have just started a new heap in our garden. With lots of cardboard to hand I used a layer straight down onto a patch of weedy earth as a base.

I’m now layering up and loving seeing changes taking place.

Perhaps it comes from a love of cooking, taking ingredients and turning them into something wonderful.

Composting has the extra dynamic of turning unwanted bi-products into an earthly rich, goodness to benefit trees, plants and edibles.

Compost ingredients are referred to as “Browns and Greens”.

Ideally a mix of 50:50, though I am pretty sure I’ve never achieved this!

Browns are dry things like twigs, bark, straw, wood ash, cardboard, paper and hay.

Greens are summer green pruning’s, weeds, tops of edibles and spent plants, grass cuttings, chicken poo and kitchen scraps.

Our new heap has all non- meat /dairy food scraps, paper, cardboard, garden clippings, grass cuttings, straw from the chook's, and some finished crops. I tread the daily path down to do my layering, scattering and so creating the potential for decomposition and alchemy.

I honestly love compost heaps. Every morning I wonder down in my PJ’s, taking the previous days scraps to scatter on the heap.

Whatever the weather I am out in nature, listening to the birds, checking the water bath, seeing new growth has taken place.

It feels so right to see my carrot peelings, egg shells and cardboard all laying together, knowing good things will come! There is something grounding in stepping into the cycle of death, decay and renewal, we connect to deep Earth Mother wisdom.

When we recognising the value of the waste resources we produce, and treat them as more than just waste, we are creating a cycle. Like turning a hurt into healing or a wound into wisdom. In this way we are healing and building our connection and caring to the Earth.

I have used plastic composter's, bins and seen wormery’s in action. I’ve even known compost heaps without sides, and just a tarp thrown loosely over the top.

The main point to whatever you choose, keep the heat and biological wonders working together in one spot. Simplest method is to up-cycle wooden pallets two sides and a back, fixed together in a u shape.

Making our own delicious compost is free, and it is a process that adds much to the greater good.

Using your waste to make compost, means less going into sealed landfill and therefore less methane gas adding to global warming.

I get a fork in and turn heaps once in a season, in plastic bins I just leave them alone completely!

Because I use NO DIG soil care methods (discussion for another time) I love the term Black Gold. It refers to the nutrient rich force of good compost, the matter that feeds soil and gives it renewed life and potency.

Soil is the beginning, the blank canvas, the place where growth happens, it is literally everything! ‘Feed your soil, not your plants.’ It is a living organism, full of microbes and bacteria, the more we feed it, the richer it becomes.

Of course you can buy compost in bags, but consider plastic bag waste, spending money, for product often laden with chemicals and peat:

Since Earthcare is about giving back to the land rather than taking, then robbing from peat bogs or using compost laden with chemicals seems counter intuitive at best.

I so hope, you will have a go at making your own.

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