Monday, October 11, 2010


Composting!  Well, now there's a word I thought I'd never use!  The pictures that word brings to my mind are not at all interesting or pleasant.  I remember seeing some composting equipment in a magazine a few years back  and the directions  involved HARD work. Then there is that barrel thing that you're supposed to roll around every 4 hours or something like that in order to MIX up all that wonderful garbage you've placed in the thing.   Let's not even mention the earthworms, the chemicals you must  add, the smell and the ugliness of the whole operation!  After 10 years or so, about a  a gallon of rich black dirt that will grow anything from a dead stick is supposed to be the reward.

Nope, not for me!

That was before  we decided to raise our own tomatoes. That was three springs ago and each year has brought more and more frustration. Nothing like a home-grown tomato, right?  Those you get at the grocery store should be outlawed, at least for false advertising anyway. I know for a fact that those circular red hard things they sell as tomatoes are really stray billiard balls. 

Honeybuns dug up as section of beautiful grass sod and declared that barren land as the new tomato patch. We've planted green very healthy plants that ALREADY had little tomatoes on them.  We've watered, fertilized, purchased and set up those little tomato cages to hold the bounty that we were positive would come forth!

We've not been successful  farmers once, not once in three years. There were bugs, diseases, leaf wilt, cut-worms, too much heat, too much water, you name it and it has attacked our garden.

Never let it be said that a challenge brings fear to this house!!  We're going to raise a decent tomato if it takes 10 years, $30,000 and our very lives!!

Step one: go back to the basics, the soil!

Hence the word compost has entered into our vocabulary and our world.

We have a plan!  It involves gathering the food scraps, egg shells, left over cereal, bones, coffee grounds, etc....stuff that appears in the kitchen throughout the day and burying it all in the tomato garden.  The "garden" consists of  4 railroad ties holding back the grass on a plot of dirt about 2 ft. x 8 ft.  Can you see it?  You think the "green" compost people would approve of this plan?

We keep the shovel handy and when a bowl of "compost" is ready one of us hauls it out to the "farm" (the above mentioned plot) and digs a hole.  This is surely how the Indians did it right?  (I'm always on the look out for fish heads for this project!)

We've been doing this for a few weeks now and we are seeing an increase of interest in our little garden.

Yep, we bury the eggshells and coffee grounds and the next day something has dug them up.  A big hole appears and our "compost" is scattered in the immaculately trimmed grass.  A racoon, an armadillo, a fox, a dog, a cat, a mouse, a python, an army of ants???  What could it be?

(Our neighborhood is not actually in the country, but close.  Most varmints that live and play here are of the two legged species and drive around in their golf-carts.  We simply cannot imagine them being interested in egg shells!)

Step two:  identify  and eliminate the compost thieves!  Now I have visions of Jerry Lewis planting explosives,  Honeybuns running a garden hose down the hole, or rigging up a trip wire that would set off bells and whistles.  Security cameras are an option.
We're pricing them.

How can it be that such a simple desire has turned into such an expensive fiasco?

Step three: leave "Green Acres" to the critters and learn to be content with lettuce, mayo and a pickle.

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