Confessions of a not-so-closet composteer!
'Part One: what went before…gardening and composting become part of my life at an early age.
Yes, sad but true, gardening and composting became part of my life at an early age when as a spotty 16 year old I dreamt of self-sufficiency on a Welsh hillside. Studying for A levels (unsuccessfully) and cultivating a substantial vegetable plot (successfully) in my parents’ north London back garden whilst I should have being studying Keynes economic theories.
On the cusp of the Seventies being a youthful back-to-the-lander was synonymous with being organic and being organic meant an obsessive interest in the mysteries of the compost heap. As a consequence almost as much time and space was given over to composting as to cultivation.
A variety of containers were constructed with recycled materials scavenged from the ready supply of skips lining Crouch End’s avenues; ingredients were eagerly sourced from local greengrocers and bracken infested railway embankments; careful records were kept of timings, turnings and temperatures. Even if I couldn’t succeed with the goddesses from the local girls’ school (hardly surprising with this particular passion as my main hobby) I could be a star on the compost circuit!
Having edged my Dad out of his own garden I now had the cheek to demand that he drove me to the leafy edges of London, the home of ‘horsey-culture’, to bring back as much manure as his Mini could carry and being a good parent, he duly obliged. With the back seat laden with sacks of horse dung and the roof rack groaning under an equivalent load, the diminutive Mini looked (and smelt) like a motorised midden. Truly parenthood is one long martyrdom!
And what did this teach me? I learnt pretty quickly that composting is endlessly fascinating – it is very effective at breaking down the heavy London clay in the garden of my ancestral home - when applied regularly and in bucket loads for example -but as a topic of conversation at the school hop it fails miserably to excite the lovely girls I was interested in talking to!'
Can't wait to read what happens next! - Annie