Composting Fever

in Garden,Yard Yakking

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Fall my favorite season for composting.

The main reason is the curb pickings in my neighborhood are at their zenith this time of year.  Local realtors trying to lure buyers to our part of the county don’t emphasize this amenity (#lostopportunities) but we have some sweet conditions here for crazed composters like me.

For one thing, our neighbors are pretty intense about their lawns, which means they are out there every week making sure everything is mowed and the leaves are collected and all the bags are at that curb.  Although they probably aren’t supposed to do this, even the lawn services usually leave the bags at the homeowners’ curb, too.  Adding to my delight, the sanitation company requires clear bags for all compostable waste, so I can see inside all the bags to know where the best goodies are.

The best bags are the ones filled with mower-shredded leaves.  The smaller the pieces, the quicker they break down into delicious compost.  Plus you can cram more shredded leaves into one bag than non-shredded leaves.  They are heavier, but they are awesomer, too.

In early fall, I get COMBO bags–bags filled with a mixture of green grass and shredded leaves!  It makes my heart go pitter-patter.  And they put them right on the curb, like, like garbage!  Quel horreur!  Don’t worry bags!  I will come and get you and hug you and squeeze you and pet you and feed you chicken poo and water you and watch you decompose.

Ahem.

I also like fall because I can collect some bags completely full of grass clippings and some completely full of shredded leaves, and layer them lasagna-style in the compost pile.  It’s so beautiful.

This past weekend I gathered three station-wagon loads full of the best offerings from the neighbors’ curbs.  I can afford to be picky this time of year.  I drive past the fluffy, light bags of unshredded leaves, the small bags, and bags crammed with too many limbs and sticks and go straight for the good stuff.  I passed one dog-walker twice, another walker three times.  Unless they are gardeners, no telling what they think.  I kept my eye on the prize.

One load containing days-old bags of grass-only began to leak the most foul-smelling sun tea I’ve ever had the misfortune to have all over the back of my car.  I’m not sure what it is about grass clippings, but they start to smell like rotten bananas right off the bat, then the odor worsens from there to a really rank sweatsock/catfish bait smell that will set your eyes to watering.  And these people don’t even have dogs, so I know it was just the grass.  Despite the smell I consider it a score because the grass-only bags are starting to slow down as the days grow shorter.

My compost bin is full now, plus I have a bag of leaves and a bag of grass in reserve to top it off once it begins to settle.

I have that nice “full larder” feeling in terms of compost, knowing I’ve got my overwinter batch started that will be ready for the spring garden.

Simple pleasures.

Or is it, the pleasures of the simple?



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