Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ode to Compost

                  If asked to wax poetic about compost, mincing words, I'd go beatnik style:
"I dig compost.
I dig it the most."

As any gardener will attest, compost is gold, the composition of decomposition, a metaphor for the Eternal Circle of Life. To get all scholarly about it, compost is a word of Latin origin coming from the word “compositus” (to compose, or put together), “com” – together plus “ponere” – to place. In this case placing together different substances that decompose (or fall apart), to produce a newly composed substance composed of rotted organic materials called “humus” (from Latin meaning “earth, soil”).

The earliest writings about compost known today were written on clay tablets but the great wisdom concerning the art of composting hasn't changed:
Shit makes makes stuff grow better.

As one of my garden mentors tactfully pointed out, there's a big difference between dirt and soil. Dirt is dirty. Soil take skills to craft and years to build.

Here at Voss Gardens, dense clay and high mineral content in the water create the terroir that makes our vegetables taste so robust, but it is a constant challenge to bring rich texture and fertility into the soil that produces the produce. The horses next door contribute grandly to the cause with manure we haul uphill and matters getting wasted in the kitchen and garden devotedly lend their dynamic decay to the heap.

Back from my foray into the foods of the Heartland, I returned to find a little village of volunteers camped out in my compost on the back 40 - pumpkins, tomatoes and sunflowers. The sturdy plants have found a home in ground that hasn't been watered in over a month. They are flowering and will soon bear fruit! Growing up without me, warms my green heart... Let's hear it for the pile!

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