Friday, October 23, 2009

Oh, the Rot!

I'm sure all of you will be grateful for the lack of photo in this issue when you find that the topic of this treatise is compost. 

You may know that chickens poop. Self-evident, right?  But saying that chickens poop is a little like saying there's some water in Venice.  My feathered friends poop constantly. It's like a performance art form.  "Le Poop." The girls shake their booties, squawk,  and create their "self expression" with startling regularity. And now that they are getting older we're not taking little runny bird droppings. We're talking stinky, significant, recognizably turd-shaped poop. 

Gross?  Hell yeah.  But it's also garden gold. Or so I'm told.  Chickenpoop is supposed to be one hell of an organic fertilizer. It's packed with goodness! But there is a catch. Unlike bunny bowel-nuts, chickenpoop is so nutrient rich that one can't use it directly on one's garden.  The nitrogen will actually burn your plants. 

And so, one must let chicken poop mature a bit, like a fine wine.  In the right environment, one that is moist, dark and warm, the poo will mellow, it will morph, it will transform into wonderdirt

And so it was, several weeks after my chickens arrived, that I joined the compost revolution.

My Envirocycle Composter with Collection Base (for catching nutrient-rich juices) is an engineering marvel.  No need to pitchfork it,  no need to stir it.  Just give the barrel-shaped container an easy spin on its lovely casters once every couple of days.  Periodically, you can harvest the "tea" from the base, which can be diluted for use as a liquid fertilizer, and once every two months, you get your wonderdirt payoff from the barrel. 

Within a day of contributing the first load I could feel the increased warmth through the sides of the bin.  Within a week, the changes were visible. Things had begun to break down with astounding rapidity. Opening the bin to add in the latest bowl of pizza crusts and apple cores became ever more exciting. What would I find inside this time? 

A scant three weeks into the exercise, my used chicken bedding, with its glorious poop content, my table scraps, and my yard clippings are all beginning to look distinctly soil-like. It's a decompositional marvel. And I'm only halfway through the composting process.  It's all criminally easy.  No flies. No smell. No mess.  Just unlatch the door, toss in the scraps, latch, and spin. 

In case you can't tell, I'm starting to get emotional about it.  I now think of all the food scraps I used to throw away and I feel mildly ill.  What a lost opportunity!  How many loads of compost could even now be at work in my yard?  But yesterday is past. Today, I am on the right track. Today, I a more responsible citizen of our planet.  Today, I am greener than yesterday.  Today I am a composter. And I feel pretty damned good about it.   All hail the rotting poo! 

Who knew something so dirty could make me feel so virtuous?

1 comment:

  1. Seems to me you could include a photo of your Magic Machine for us.