PRACTICE MAKES COMPOST
"Composting is easier to do than to describe, and, like lovemaking,
magic when you do it well."
Sim Van der Ryn
After reading this chapter one may become overwhelmed with all that is involved in composting: bacteria, actinomycetes, fungi, thermophiles, mesophiles, C/N ratios, oxygen, moisture, temperatures, bins, pathogens, curing, and biodiversity. How do you translate this into your own personal situation and locate it all in your own backyard? How does one become an accomplished composter, a master composter? That's easy - just do it. Then keep doing it. Throw the books away (not this one, of course) and get some good, old-fashioned experience. There's no better way to learn. Book learning will only get you so far, but not far enough. A book such as this one is for inspiring you, for sparking your interest, and for reference. But you have to get out there and do it if you really want to learn.
Work with the compost, get the feel of the process, look at your compost, smell the finished product, buy or borrow a compost thermometer and get an idea of how well your compost is heating up, then use your compost for food production. Rely on your compost. Make it a part of your life. Need it and value it. In no time, without the need for charts or graphs, Ph.D.s, or worry, your compost will be as good as the best of them. Perhaps someday we'll be like the Chinese who give prizes for the best compost in a county, then have intercounty competitions. Now that's getting your shit together.
Source: The Humanure Handbook. Jenkins Publishing,
PO Box 607, Grove City, PA 16127. To order, phone: 1-800-639-4099.