My lovely work colleagues sent my this beautiful bouquet the other week. I was very touched. They’re missing me and yes, likewise, I’m missing them. The flowers lasted over a week and smelt gorgeous. But once done they went on the compost heap and will go on to sustain future plant life. Isn’t nature wonderful?

I have a geeky love of the compost heap in my back garden. My bin is one of those big black dalek-shaped ones. I bought it during the 2020 deep dark lockdown. My thoughts then turned to my garden. After all it was the only outdoor space we were allowed in for any length of time. The bin was a bargain, bought direct from the council at a subsided price. I believe that a lot of local authorities run similar schemes.

There is alchemy in turning kitchen scraps and garden waste into rich black soil. In summer the heap of debris goes down at a rate of knots. And boy does it get hot in that bin! Even so a family of wiggies survive the heat, it’s a veritable sauna for insects and worms. If I had a magic lamp to rub I’d wish for some slowworms. They’re supposed to like a good compost heap but they haven’t arrived yet.

I have a small bin on my work surface to collect vegetation to go on the heap. You’ll know the type of thing, peelings, the leafy greenery from the top of carrots, things that have gone off in the fridge. I add ash from the wood burner too and a bit of seaweed that I pick up at the beach. But nothing cooked or meaty goes in the mix. Apparently that type of food waste attracts rats and they’d upset my resident population. However I do throw caution to the wind and, against advice, throw unwashed eggshell in there. I read online once that our rodent friends could be tempted by the smattering of residual white. ‘What are they going to do with them?’ commented one scathing skeptic. ‘Make little helmets out of them?’

All those storms last week caused devastation at the allotment. Sadly people lost sheds and greenhouses. We had a message from the lengthsmen who look after the site telling us to pop any debris at the gate for collection. I had a lightbulb moment. While my boys were out for a cycle I popped over to the plot on Sunday afternoon. Sure enough there was a massive pile of unwanted wood. After much to-ing and fro-ing it’s now on our plot ready for compost heap building. Upcycling at its best! Maybe a nice wooden bin might be a better home for those slowworms?

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