Leaving the compost

Whenever I travel I’m struck by the urge to turn the compost vigorously before I go.  I think everyone has travel rituals, that are partly to do with avoiding thinking about the ridiculous level of risk represented by flight.  So mine is this: I turn the compost so that I can leave it set for a few weeks, with plenty of air and hard work.

The garden is harder to leave.  There’s always so much to be done, and I imagine that by the time I get back the mystery weed will have covered the house and car, it’s travelling so fast under these ideal Spring conditions.  It’s time to plant.

Because it’s been dry, cold and windy, both the compost heaps are brittle and puffy.  Small clumps of dried lawn clippings fly up when it’s like this, and it takes a while to break all the way down to the centre of the heap where there’s enough heat and moisture to spread.  The corners of the heap are especially likely to dry out and it takes a while to figure out the best movement that will stir the edges in towards the centre.

But while I was doing this I could smell the limes breaking down.  P will mind the compost while I’m away, and keep it turned, and there will be more fresh limes when I come home.


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