Compost Your Enemies

Readers possessed of a better memory than mine may recall the post I wrote 2 1/4 years ago, about the garden patch and what turned out to be a Gestetner stylus found therein. I say a better memory than mine, because I had forgotten that I wrote it.

It refers to an “enormous black bag of weed roots – now too heavy to lift” and when I say enormous, I do not exaggerate. It looked like this:

A large black plastic bag, full, with a white bucket lid on top.
That revolting brown thing is a fallen camellia flower. Why do they do that?

Do not be fooled into thinking that this is your common or garden black rubbish bag, vol. approx 60L. No, no. This black bag was about a metre by two metres when flat, and when full it was, as previously mentioned, too heavy for me to lift. I can lift a ten kilo sack and carry it on my head. In a previous job I used to lift twenty kilo sacks of popping corn (though I was not foolhardy enough to put them on my head). I can lift and carry a large tub full of hardwood logs for the fire. I could not lift this bag.

So I dragged it into a corner of the concrete slab outside our back door, and ignored it. Weeds grew around it. Camellia flowers flopped on to it the moment they bloomed. (Why do camellias do that??) Worms and slugs and snails and Things With Legs crawled about it, and possibly into it. After about a year, some parsley even managed to punch a hole in the side of the bag and start growing out of it. (Parsley: will grow anywhere.)

Fast-forward to the present day, and I was playing a game of Guess Where The Edge of the Concrete Is, as preparation for the hopefully imminent installation of a non-leaking woodshed. The bag had to move.

I still couldn’t lift it. While the volume was greatly decreased, the weight was holding pretty steady, and the bag was by no means in mint condition (especially post-parsley). The dragging that had got it there was not going to take it away again.

So I opened it up, and I found…soil. Rich, moist soil, that did not even remotely resemble the mass of mint roots it had once been, aside from a certain element of fibrousness. By a delightful piece of serendipitous grace, the bag contained just the right amount to fill a tub I wanted to grow tomatoes in.

Blue plastic tub full of dark soil, resting among weeds.
Stakes in place and the first seeds sown.

So there you have it: compost your enemies with patience and persistence, and grow a cascade of golden tomatoes from their decayed remains.

Now all I need is a much more durable – not to mention gigantic – Black Plastic Thing capable of taking on the rest of the invading mint forces, for lo, my enemies are many and surround me round about. In fact, most of the green matter you see in the above photo is weeds, largely mint. Any suggestions?

2 Replies to “Compost Your Enemies”

  1. How long must I wait? I’ve got some plastic bags weighted down over the previous compost, but it’s only a matter of weeks…

    1. That I cannot tell you, for I do not know. All I know is two and a half years in a black bag is plenty. Under our conditions, anyway.

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