No photo today. My camera is in London.
If I were to separate my time in the garden into some kind of pie chart, a very large slice would be "Compost Making." I've documented here, often, about my love of the stuff. But maybe the size of this pie slice is merely creative accounting on my part: not of the Enron sort or backdating stocks or whatever, but more that everything in the garden becomes compost, eventually.
My search for some nearly unattainable level of Farm Tidiness nudges me to gather any and all compostable material around here: Kitchen scraps. Fallen apples. Grass clippings. Branches. Leaves. Chicken poop. Weeds. Dead plants. Pet hair, broom sweepings. Cardboard boxes, junk mail, paper bags. All of it goes in.
I was mucking out the chicken coop Sunday, and for once I was thankful that my higher sense of order had actually NOT come to fruition. You see, I really, really wanted a concrete slab in the bottom of the coop. I had planned to put deep, deep bedding atop it to counteract the cold sink effect of all that concrete on those cold bird legs in the winter, but...well, we never got around to putting in the slab. And I am grateful!!! I muck the thing out with great regularity (about 6x a year) and when I get down to the bottom, to the dirt, you would just be amazed. The color. It is crumbly, BLACK DIRT. All that poop atop all that straw atop all those wood shavings equals microbe and worm heaven. So I scrape that stuff right up, put it in my faithful garden trugs, and layer it oh so carefully in the compost piles.
What's with the compost love? Well, I have clay soil. It could use some lightening up, so I try my darndest to do so with all the vegetable matter I pile atop the beds. It's helping. But even in the perfect soil of my Minneapolis garden (and it was, I swear), even the tiniest bit of compost goes a long way to ensuring happy plants.
So go out there and build a pile! Autumn is the perfect time, especially with all those leaves falling out there. And it will answer your need for tidiness.