Archive | August 2012

The compost maker

The first year on our allotment has brought a major cultural shift in our house, especially vegetable consumption. But, the major change and my partner’s prime annoyance is ….. my compost.   No sooner had I signed my tenancy agreement than I diligently saved tea bags, egg shells, discarded lettuce, mouldy bread, outer cabbage and brussel sprout leaves, potato peelings and more.  My first receptacle, a pot by the sink quickly overflowed so I graduated to a carrier bag hanging on a door handle.  Two days later a strange smell and a brown smudgy mark revealed a hole where a treacly brown substance now dripped down my jeans. Not to be deterred and spurred on by discussing compost and the bonuses of adding urine with neighbouring allotment holders and admiring their gungy substances, I found a new container.

Marital relations then deteriorated according to a new Sod’s Law proposing the dimensions of indoor compost pots are always smaller than the amounts deposited.  Once I brought home prize vegetables to prepare in my kitchen the compost expanded with marrow peelings, slug-ridden cabbage sections, runner bean tops and sides, muddy potato peelings and rhubarb leaves.  A carrier bag held the large plastic container plus overflow while further freezer bags were added to this array of decaying humus alongside which we ate our platefuls of veg each evening.   I then add in varying stages of decay small amounts of forgotten lettuce from the fridge, rotting onion accidentally spiked during weeding with a fork.  As my compost grew so did my partner’s overt disgust.

Occasionally, when struggling with muddy potatoes, dirty lettuce and slug-ridden cabbage, I admit to a hankering for days of washed shop-bought vegetables and fast food preparation.  Take beetroot, my most successful crop.  Previously I bought ready-cooked beetroot.  However, now I boil newly-dug beetroot, peel off the dark red skins leaving my hands and kitchen walls resembling a murder scene.

On my allotment visits I transfer this stinking mass to my fair-sized compost bag but requests to do the same are ignored, Other Half pleading deafness with an unco-operative grunt.

But, ever the optimist, this autumn I hope to win over Other Half to the value of compost making.  If next year’s crops improve …… perhaps  I will.   Meanwhile I’m off to chase Mr Caterpillar and Mrs Slug’s family running amok in my kitchen.

I blog an allotment diary at  and would welcome a link