I can still see the joy in my Dad’s eyes as he stood in his garden and bit into a sun-warmed tomato he had just picked off the vine.
Or watching my Mom pop a strawberry in her mouth from time to time as she picked a big bowl of perfectly ripe fruit for our strawberry shortcake dessert.
Or the autumn smell of a pot of stew simmering on the stove chock full of veggies from our garden.
And canning jars full of veggies and fruit from the season harvest, sitting on the counter that my Grandma had just finished “putting up.”
That first chomp on an ear of corn, dripping with real butter, at a backyard family get together for the Fourth of July.This is the way we lived – and our people before us – and before them.
We didn’t use chemicals on our gardents – to keep out the bugs or to fertilize the plants – and we didn’t think of ourselves as “organic farmers” or any other fancy name.
We used compost to give our plants what they needed.
Of course, we had plenty of kitchen scraps for our compost because that’s the way we ate. And nothing was wasted.
We didn’t have three big cans of garbage that had to be hauled off to the landfill every week.
We recycled before we knew what that word meant.
Meat scraps went to the animals.
Canning jars were reused every season.
Tin cans – the few we had – collected nails and other odds and ends in the shed part of the pump house.
Worn out clothes went into the rag bag and someetimes ended up as a new quilt. Outgrown clothes went to the churc
We lived on 13 acres in the country and our compost system was a pile and a pitchfork. And it worked for us and countless other people around the world.
Compost is free, it’s clean, and readily available to everyone to produce in this day and age.
You won’t have to soak your lettuce in a tub full of water to which you’ve added vinegar and salt in order to break down the chemicals used to produce the lettuce.
Think about it. Read the papers and learn about all the bad things the big companies do to the food they sell us.
Look at all the “good” kitchen scraps that end up at the land fills.
There are many different ways to create compost – a pile, bin, or tumbler are the most common outdoors methods.
Indoors, you can use compost crocks or pails to temporarily store your scraps, or the Bokashi Method. You can also have a “backporch” compost tumbler, which is small enough to fit on your balcony or, well, back porch!
Another method of composting is worm composting, which can be done indoors as well – and throughout the year.
A lot of the systems you can use will result in a liquid called compost tea – or you can make it specifically. This liquid is great to use on your house plants.
Mushroom compost – a by-product from mushroom growers – is a great, inexpensive product you can incorporate into your compost routine.
In the fall, you can collect all of your raked-up leaves – or those of your neighbors – and put them in plastic garbage bags. You simply store them in a shed or garage until spring and then you will have wonderful “leaf mulch” to use on your flower beds.
For more information on composting: