Tis that time of year again! The time to start a garden! But here in Colorado, sometimes the soil isn’t so welcoming of new seeds or plants as we would hope. In my search for better soil and doing more for The Green Movement, I thought I’d try my hand at composting. I had read about composting for years, knowing that it was something that I should do. It seemed logical, responsible and Lord knows our flower and vegetable gardens could sure use it.
I watched videos on You Tube and after finding the easiest method (and one which would not encourage my children to explore in the depths of it) I began. I bought a 25 gallon black Rubbermaid trashcan with a snap on lid, and drilled holes in the lid and on the sides for whatever reason they told me to. I threw in all of our food scraps, cut small for quicker decomposing, and some shredded bills and dead leaves and let the magic begin. After three weeks of rolling the trashcan around in the yard to “stir it”, and adding all of the proper items, the only magic that we got was fruit flies. It was bad enough that I was somehow bringing them home from the grocery store on my cantaloupes, but now I was also cultivating them in my back yard. I couldn't grow squat for food, but little pesky insects I was breeding by the thousands.
I read up on more composting websites regarding what to do about fruit flies and diligently followed the rules of keeping the proper nitrogen levels. I put more shredded newspapers and dead leaves into my compost can, per instructions, which was situated now even further away from the back door of our house. When I took sacks of food waste outside to the compost bin I made sure that I walked around the back yard several times so that I might lose any flies that chose to accompany me back to the house. But the can was still swarming with them, and my kitchen was a mess of flying, circling nastiness.
I finally gave up the compost can in August of last year, and there it sat, in the corner of the yard, hidden by bushes and apathy. I got rid of the flies with a squirt bottle of slightly soapy water. It made their wings stick together and fall and I didn’t spray anything gross on my counters or walls that way. I remembered the can again this spring. I opened the lid, wondering what to do with the newspapers and moldy rinds that I assumed would still be inside. But what greeted me was exactly what all the pictures showed. A rich, dark can full of what I can only describe as Black Gold. Magic happened and I didn't even have a hand in it anymore. Where there had been smelly trash nine months ago, there was now a nutrient rich base for our soil that I could actually utilize! I can't wait to use it. Fruit flies and all.