Adding the cat litter

Adding the cat litter (that is paper dust blowing about)

Me? Struggling for post titles? It’s like you are saying there isn’t anything all that interesting about compost….

Last weekend I mentioned that the compost wasn’t ready, but that we had to go ahead and use some anyway. Well a week later I have actually got around to adding in some carbon. We do not have any dried leaves left in the garden (the best source, at least in my experience), and I mean none; every last handful has been put into the Green Johanna during the winter to keep the pile going, and it still wasn’t enough (and they have all now broken down too), and shredded newspaper takes some time to breakdown (the pile is starting to smell bad with the coming of spring and warm weather) so I used some paper-based cat litter.

I’ve mentioned cat litter in the compost heap before, we stopped using it last summer when both our cats decided they would rather get back to nature somewhere in a local bank of trees, but we had a bag of clean paper-based litter left over. It was very easy to add this into the heap with a spade and it very quickly absorbed the worst of the water (the little bubbling puddles from last year were coming back with the warm weather). That was Saturday, and by Sunday the smell coming from the pile (it only smelt with the lid off) was much better, but it was clear that there still wasn’t enough carbon in the heap so I added in 3 shredded copies of the Metro.

Also on Saturday I found an infestation of something nasty looking that had worked its way up behind the thermal cover inside the lid. I fished them out into the compost heap, mixed them into the pile and by Sunday they hadn’t gone back or overwhelmed the entire compost heap so hopefully just a one-off.

Speaking of critters I had a look inside my friend Kim’s compost heap on Sunday too, and was put to shame by the sheer number of earth worms in it (they pretty much exploded out as we opened the cover!), as opposed to having once spotted one in mine. She says that they came as soon as she added egg-shells and tea bags (she doesn’t use a Green Johanna, and does not compost meat). Of course I can’t expect to have quite so many in my heap as the composter reaches up to 50ºC, but now that we have almost no food in it (and have added very little due to us being much less wasteful) and it has cooled right down (as the content is mostly broken-down material) I hoped that they would have started to appear

Critters aside hopefully by Mothers Day there will be some progress towards actual compost.