Miracle of Compost

Compost ThermometerIt’s April 29, 2013 and you can still find snow in piles that have not yet melted here in the northern reaches of central Ontario. It left the deepest shadow areas of our back yard only three days ago.

Ten days ago I checked the compost to see if there was any biological activity. It was stone cold and hard, i.e. there was ice in it. I started adding some waste water from the kitchen sink to top up the compost pail each time I took it out to empty. The pile is about 42″ x 42″ x 36″ high and consists of kitchen wastes that I have added over the winter, plus a few bags of leaves and straw that I salvaged from our Christmas pageant entitled Living Nativity… and it is ‘Living”, held outside every year for five nights immediately before Christmas… and we have live animals too, and they need straw, which I kindly offer to remove once the pageant is over. Gather what you can where and when you can.

When I stuck the compost thermometer in today, lo and behold it started to climb, and fast. I am surprised, impressed and pleased. The bin of finished compost right next to this one is mostly solid ice at this point. I needed compost today so I had to nearly chisel the frozen stuff apart before I could feed it through the shredder. That fixed the frozen chunks in a BIG hurry.

One of the joys of gardening is that one can never “know it all”, and each year I am happy to learn something new.  I’m sixty-eight and have been gardening since I was ten (thank you dad for that little piece of ground out back.) My dear old dad will be ninety-five come May 30. He can no longer garden, but he still likes to hear of my gardening exploits.

Having recently purchased Eliot Coleman’s gardening books, I can foresee many new things for this aging gardener to learn, and to love the learning.



  1. Author’s note… By May 2 the temperature was up to 125ºF

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