Sunday, July 3, 2011

Homemade Dirt

Too much information?  Where the kitchen scraps are collected.
My partner, Kelly, years ago was a city dweller, as I was, and though being a city dweller in a compact DC townhouse he used every outdoor nook and cranny not covered in cement to grow things: figs, lemon, apple and pear trees, tomatoes and peppers.  He also composted. 

We met in late summer and by fall he could be heard muttering about “brown gold” – how there was so much “brown gold” going to waste all over the city streets.  I thought he was way off of his nut until I learned that brown gold was the bounty of fallen leaves packed into black plastic garbage bags, ready for trash day, that lined the streets of DC.  It was incomprehensible to him that people actually considered this stuff garbage.  He’d drive around and cram bags into his Acura until there was only space for himself in the driver’s seat.  

Now we have 160 acres, none of it paved and we can (try and) grow anything we want.  And we compost.  All of our produce scraps get thrown into a green bucket and taken outside to be dug into wherever the compost pile happens to be at that moment.  Kelly moves it around based on reasons that do not need to be understood by me but are perfectly clear to him.  That’s how it should be.  I provide the organic material and he piles it wherever he wants.  Right now the compost lives at one end of the row of tomatoes and it’s covered in black plastic.  He gives it fresh air now and then, turns it and adds the kitchen scraps, cuttings from the garden, a bag of flour gone bad.  A faint odor of cabbages emanates from it.  The pile is a growing mystery – whatever is underneath the plastic may get up and walk one day.  One day, it will be dirt.

As for “brown gold,” we have it here, too.  Here we use the leaves (mostly scrub, pin and black jack oak) as a protective mulch around the base of other trees, on the asparagus bed and blueberry bushes or we dig them, too, into the compost pile.  The leaves attract earthworms and the earthworms aerate the composting leaves and assist with breaking them down.  And then one day, you have...dirt.  Which goes into the flower and vegetable beds.  Amazing.

We’ve even been known to foray into town during the fall, looking for bags of leaves left for the garbage man.  A few of our neighbors, knowing how we covet dead leaves, collect what they rake from their yards and bring the bags around to us.  They probably think we are way off of our nuts, but that’s alright; it’s how it should be.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed browsing, it seems as if you live a fun filled life....tfs....hope your week is nurtured with the sun!

    enjoy *~*


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