When compost goes bad…

Saturday was clean up day at the garden. Everyone gets together to talk shop and tackle the big projects. For me and a fellow gardener, that meant salvaging the compost bins from the disastrous mess they had become.

From all the reading i’ve done, composting seems easy enough, but there’s a little bit of an art to it. You need the right mix of greens and browns. It needs to be turned. It should be wet, but not too wet, or too dry. Since the two bins had been installed last year, gardeners have been pretty good about filling it up. What they haven’t been good at is filling the bins with the right stuff.  One bin had a foot-thick layer of newspapers about half way down. The other was completely overloaded with thick branches. In both bins, decomposition was halted and things were getting funky.


My partner and I dismantled the bins, sifted out any usable compost, and saved the worms. There was a surprising amount of good compost underneath all the shit that had been thrown on top.  The rest, sadly, went out with the trash.

We set up a three bin system – one for new stuff, one for the stuff that’s getting there, and a third for the stuff that’s ready for the garden.  I’m serving as compost sheriff now, but my policing powers don’t extend beyond tattling to the garden board when someone throws trash in the compost bin and giving stern but educational lectures on proper composting to anyone caught in the act. I want a badge.

In the end, being elbow-deep in festering veggie scraps all morning paid off. I took some of the good compost we saved and mixed it into my plot. I  hope the tomatoes appreciate the effort.

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One thought on “When compost goes bad…

  1. mluv1 says:

    You always seem to manage to revert to that Smithie fire marshall, riding with campus police thing. Hats, badges, you always have the outfit too. With all your past experience, the community garden is lucky to have you as the compost police. ;)

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