Oh, yeah?! Well, how about this?!
Your one and only, ever true friend Jack is here, so, dearest reader, let’s talk about compost. Hey, come back! I know, that isn’t exactly what you expect when you come to a recipe blog. But this is connected, so maybe hang about a bit? Thankfully I’ll be omitting photos this time.
I had the idea for a post, not a guide, no, just a post like this for a while. I do have another garden post in the works, but it needs a little more time. It’s the completion of a rather big project, one I’ve shared before, which has finally reached it’s end stage. It’s not one hundred percent finished, but this is all the work that can be done this year. Exciting? Probably depend on your definition. Still, it fills a void and gives your old pal an excuse to ramble on. Things are really winding down in my garden, I’ll never get used to this stage of the cycle of growth. I have a few plants left, the rest are slowly dying or going into dormancy. The weather is making a few act up, I mean, I have daffodils and anemone growing. I can’t do anything but hope the frost spares them. Still, the roses need pruning, I bought special gloves to help. to get them ready. I have a few cuttings that are growing and I’ll take more. A few straggling yellow strawberries are growing, still delicious. What I’ve been mostly doing is composting. So thrilling, eh?
I have a three bin set up, one is resting the other two are being filled alternatively. I use a mixture of paper, brown, newspaper, and greens, as in everything else, 2:1 to help it from getting soggy and mushy. It worked for the first bin. I want a lot for squash next year so I’m hoping to finish another bin soon and then start resting another. It’s pretty easy to manage compost. I stir it occasionally, I keep it topped up with paper when the flies become too numerous. I don’t think I’d want it in an uncovered pile, too many rats. Speaking of which: The bins are hollow bottomed and I covered them with chicken wire. Then I dug the soil underneath before placing them. I had one rat, but that was it. They’re really full now and dense. I’ve let the weeds run riot over the surrounding ground as I hope the roots will help as a barrier. Not that you’ll stop a determined rat, but you can obfuscate them. It’s not hard to get the compost going. You do need to balance things and do be careful where you put them, the further away the better in my opinion. These are in a wild corner. The only smell when really breaking down, even then only when you open them. Oh! You can see the steam rising from them on a cold day, you can even feel the heat if they’re at the right stage it’s pretty amazing.
You might wonder what this has to do with cooking and baking. Well, I have this big bin outside, about twenty five litres say, that gets filled with every peel, banana, potato etc every eggshell, bad vegetables, torn tea bags, you gotta tear them or they’ll leave bags in the final compost, dregs of tea, boiled vegetables, more squash guts than you could imagine, apple cores, garlic peel, onion skins. I could go on and on. So much waste from the kitchen goes into the compost. That bin is emptied maybe once a week, maybe more. The neighbours even give me their scraps and teabags. That’s just the kitchen, mind. I also let weeds dry out and add those, grass in sparse amounts, too much can make it soggy, rotten strawberries, bolted vegetables, dead flowers and herbs. I added the butternut squashes that failed, the whole plants, the potato plants, peas and broad bean plants that were finished. Even topsoil taken from the dug out area. You only notice how much waste there is when you start to make use of it.
The best part? It breaks down and compacts so much that you only get a bit of compost, enough for a big bag or two sure, but nothing compared to all the waste that fills those bins. I never thought about this before, but I guess when I do so much cooking from scratch it starts to pile up and it’d be just waste to someone else, to me it’ll be plant food, it’ll be rose feed and eventually it’ll be even more compost. I can’t really advise much. Keep it stirred, keep it dry enough, you don’t want soggy mush, add in horse and cow manure, never sheep, not sure why but I was warned by a farmer so don’t do that and just carry on resting and filling. You don’t need three bins, but it does help if you have a lot of waste. It makes me feel like the work I do in the kitchen preparing so much food is really worthwhile now, well, more-so. All this work will provide me with more raw ingredients to work with later. You don’t have to go all in with this, trying a small bit of composting can’t hurt, right? Feed your plants with it and you’ll be amazed at the results. It might end up being a gateway drug and next thing you know you’ll be calling yourself Jack too. There is only one Jack and he has big bins of brown mush to prove it. I’ll see you with new recipes soon, I have banana flour ordered, just a small packet as it’s very expensive, I’ll try to do a lot with a little. See you soon.