I’ve been using an old plastic container, the kind in which plants from the nursery are potted (that’s how we came into possession of it), as a waste bucket. It is a convenient place to toss weeds, pruned branches, rotted vegetables and other green waste from the garden. It sits on the ground near the hose bib and next to the watering can and is a much easier target than the ravine beyond the pool fence.
I started this practice a few weeks ago and by today, the bucket was full. So I walked it over to the refuse pile and flung its contents on top. What I immediately noticed as the mass of organic matter plopped onto the pile was that the material at the bottom of the bucket, which had been kept moist by rain and warmed by the sun, had already started to decompose. After less than a month, the green garden waste had become a dark brown, granular mass, well on its way to becoming rich organic soil.
In other words, my waste bucket had turned into a mini compost pile. If I had let it bask in the sun much longer, I could probably have simply tipped it back into one of the planters to replenish the soil’s organic content. Presumably, there is a little more to the process—balancing different materials, mixing them together, aerating the pile—but the experience showed me how simple the basic operation is.
Also, how magical the process is, almost like alchemy. It is very encouraging and will motivate me to find a place where a pile of garden discards can be transformed into a useful soil amendment.