“We think of creation in terms of growth, but the intelligence of decay is just as astonishingly coherent and sophisticated. Rotting is creation, too, in all its glory.” (Innes, 2003)
There are a number of things we can always count on in this world. Seasons change, grass grows, the sun rises (though that is only true from our very limited viewpoint, of course). And, yes, we can be sure that compost happens.
It boggles the mind to imagine the myriad organisms and processes that naturally and automatically create living compost from organic matter, whether it be under your feet in the woods or in a pile in the garden.
As I wrote in an Earth Day post three years ago, “did you know that healthy soil should have 600 million bacteria in a teaspoon? There should also be tens of thousands of protozoa and miles of fungal hyphae. If all these little friends were in our soil, the plants which feed us wouldn’t need fungicides or bactericides.
It is because of this that I’m a compost fanatic. We compost all the vegetable trimmings from the kitchen, all the weeds and spent plants from the garden, and most everything else that will decompose, in a huge compost pile. The compost process requires and encourages the very life needed for healthy soil. The finished compost added back on your vegetable and fruit beds is like a shot in the arm for your garden.”
You’ve probably heard the Shaker song that tells us, “’tis a gift to be simple”. We have adopted a version the very simple Shaker-style of composting. We start a new pile each spring, which as you can see in the photo, gets very large. We simply let it compost through the summer, fall and winter, and by spring it has become rich, black soil, teeming with life. It is ready to be distributed throughout the garden, with reverence and gratitude.
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