That is the question. Compost, and you have the un-advantageous negatives that any not-as-of-yet composting novice fears could come along with it. Unattractive attractiveness. Surely there’s the possibility of scavenging animals (and probably an alley cat or two) seeking out its rotting source as a wintertime feast. I can’t help but question the “rodent-proof” self descriptive that most composters tout.
Along with that are the necessary drainage and air holes – I’d rather not think about what kinds of things are going to be draining out of it. And then there are the rules. What exactly are the rules of composting? How long will it take my compost to decompose? What can I compost? What can’t I? How will I know when it’s safe to sprinkle among my cherished blooms that I’ve coaxed so tenderly into my garden? The do’s and don’ts begin to boggle my mind. The space. Do I have it? And with what little space I have, I must admit, the thought of an unsightly black, elevated, spinning barrel somewhere, anywhere, doesn’t exactly persuade me to do it.
But then there are the positives. This year as I readied my garden for winter, I couldn’t help but NOT throw the dead leaves and dried out blooms into my trash bin. I just couldn’t bring myself to discard what my garden had so enthusiastically produced for me all the summer. Even in their hibernating, crispy brown-ness, I felt those remnants had the ability to continue to work for me, to continue to contribute to my garden now in a different way. I was guilt-laden. At that moment, I began to have more of a conscience. Even if just confined to the flower bed just outside my back door, I can make a difference in my ¼-of-a-block acreage in the middle of town. I have the ability to do something. And something is always better than nothing.
Then began the grueling online research. Hours of searching out a multitude of brands, the differing styles, the pros and cons, the online customer reviews, assembled or assembly required and, of course, the price. At the end of the afternoon, my mind was a blur of orbiting barrels spinning out of control. So, it’s no surprise that those brown leaves and stems are still attached to their resident perennials in my garden like sentinels of an idea sidelined by way too many options.
One day soon I’ll happily retrieve an enormous box off my front porch filled with the makings of an assemble-yourself compost bin. And thus will begin what will no doubt surely be called “Trial & Error Composting 101.”