Usually I try to take pretty pictures like this when discussing compost. A pretty picture of the compost pitchfork handle when speaking of the compost. The closer in I can get, the more I can blur out in the background, the prettier the idea of compost is. Of course, to paint a pretty picture of compost in the spring is just plain wrong. You see compost in the fall can be rather pretty...a big pile covered with a layer of hay or dried grass on top? Looks pastoral - peaceful - reminiscent of those haystacks in England. Compost in the winter is just a bump in the garden, covered with fluffy snow - who has ever disliked a mini-mountain of snow? It fits in just nicely.
The problem is spring. You see, in spring, the compost is USED. I take the wire basket off and the pile crumples a bit. Move the crate, fill it with the top of the pile and then "harvest" the compost on the bottom of the pile. The pretty finished compost goes all over the veggie bed and the leftovers are just not pretty. You know how a Thanksgiving turkey goes from perfect and beautiful to looking like a pile of bones the dog found within about 20 minutes? That would be the compost pile in spring.
The other problem? Once the pile has been turned there are some GOOD bugs crawling around the top. Try to keep chickens away from a bug buffet - not possible. Those same chickens go to town with their little fork shaped claws and the area just goes to pot. (Quite literally...whatever weed seeds were anywhere nearby spring up seemingly overnight.)
Maybe I don't show you pictures of the compost in spring because I don't want to scare you off. I don't want you to give up on composting. It is not that difficult, it certainly is good for the Earth and makes me feel a little better about all those diapers I am throwing into the landfill.
|New compost pile being started on the right...on the left on the bottom is finished compost!|