The Joys of Composting

WISTERIA IS A PERSONABLE BRAND grounded not only in style but also in lifestyle. As Creative Director, I had the privilege of writing for the blog Vine on topics outside the normal product-centric areas covered by other contributors, as well as on topics usually ignored on the blogs of other home furnishings retailers. This one first appeared June 21, 2012.

Below: Canna fodder – a beautiful mess of leaves I photographed decaying in my brother-in-law’s planting bed.

Thumbnail of Wisteria Composting

Years ago I lived out away from nearly everything and everybody, on a small, wooded acreage in rural Oklahoma. On any clear night, I could step outside my door and look straight up to see the Milky Way sprawl across the sky, as if white smoke from a nearby campfire was wafting over my roof in delicate, hazy wisps.

I had to give up a few modern conveniences to enjoy this experience, but even the sacrifices of living almost-off-the-grid brought their own rewards. For one thing, I acquired some handy skills: Because winter storms would sometimes lead to power outages, I learned to cut and split my own firewood so I could warm the entire home with more comfortable radiant heat. And because there’s no garbage man in the sticks, I discovered the joys of composting.

Fruit and vegetable trimmings, coffee grounds and egg shells, in fact anything that was once alive, can go into a compost heap. In a matter of weeks this once smelly, kitchen garbage magically transforms into dark, earthlike organic matter to enrich the soil of a garden or even potted plants.

Today I live in a suburb of Dallas, with regular pick-up of not only trash but also recyclables, and yet I still love to keep a compost heap. And I have to confess I’ll probably continue to do so whether or not I have a garden or potted plants. There’s something I find fascinating about witnessing the alchemy of organic decay, when something as useless and gross as a banana peel can become life-sustaining.

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