Compost, compost, compost

I wish I had thought to keep a running total of the amount of compost that has been used at the abbey. Tons, certainly. I buy it by the dump truck load.

This is a leaf compost, made from leaves picked up as a city service in nearby cities. It’s not an ideal compost, because it’s a high-carbon compost. But if you give it plenty of time for the soil to digest it, it works fine. My understanding of the biology is that high-carbon compost requires further digestion by soil bacteria. The bacteria that do this digestion suck up available nitrogen for their cellular protein. When the bacteria have done their work, the cells die, and the nitrogen is released back into the soil. So, when used in a garden, it must be applied out of season so that it can be digested before planting time.

I think of it as food for my earthworms. They too are hungry little animals just like the rest of the wildlife. That’s something I inherited from my mother. She could never bear the sight of a hungry animal. No one at Acorn Abbey is permitted to go hungry, if I can help it, though I must admit that my population of very fat voles tests my tolerance.

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