It’s the time of year when, seeds ready, buds swelling and air warming, the growing season beckons. The ancestral memory stirs in our bones, drawing us outside into the garden. Though our ancestors would never have grown lupins or petunias – silly floozy bedding flowers that have no use at all. Being a permaculturalist, I like to eat my garden.
Each year before I plant I go through the ritual of emptying the compost heap on to the beds, to add to the soil that will feed my food this season. I’ve been hooked on composting since my twenties. It’s the ultimate closing of the life cycle loop, death feeding life. Like most living things, compost improves with age. What goes in the compost heap a mess of waste - vegbox peelings, Guardians, hair, hooverings, wood ash, old clothes, cardboard and whatnots from the bathroom - comes out sweet smelling, crumbly, fine soil.
My preference is for an open bin, about a metre cubed capacity. The compost doesn’t turn sour or smelly and you can make the bin out of natural things like pallets. As a result, I have a rat issue. I don’t say, Problem, because the rat is brilliant at turning the compost. But my neighbour’s son saw the rat climbing their back steps the other day. Sorry rat; you will have to die.
Insider information: for free composting advice contact the Compost Doctor