So the festive season is almost past and we are nearly back to porridge and old clothes*, bar the ritual dismantling of the Christmas tree and the eating of the chocolates on it. These few days, after New Year and before school and other commitments kick in next week, have allowed me to do some clearing up in the garden, including the turning of the compost bins. This is a foul but surprisingly satisfying task. My compost bins are rather miscellaneous, consisting of two ‘proper’ plastic conical bins and one made from an old water barrel which was destroyed by ice. I use one bin for all the waste from the kitchen and garden, transfer it to bin number two when it fills up, then to bin number three when that fills up. This system sort of works. The first bin is always a bit soggy and has several undecomposed oranges, egg shells and bits of twig, as well as the inevitable teaspoons and bits of plastic, and lots of very fat slugs. But when it moves through bin number two it transforms into the magic of useable compost. I’m not very scientific about my composting and follow the advice in ‘Backyard Composting’ by John Roulac (Green Books 2000) which says ‘No matter what you do, you cannot fail because compost happens’. My compost usually happens eventually and I’m happy when I’ve just filled up bins number two and three, ready to empty onto my vegetable plot in a couple of months.
Being out in the garden in the daylight encouraged me to harvest something for lunch. I found some perpetual spinach and Swiss chard and combined that with some frozen broad beans and fresh herbs to make a rather nice soup. A satisfying garden day.
*’Porridge and old clothes’ was a favourite expression of my Dad’s, which we use to acknowledge the end of festivities of any kind, despite the old clothes never having really gone away and porridge being a bit of a treat.