Or is it the Seven Pillars of Horticultural Wisdom, or the Ten All-time Top Garden Tips?
As everyone’s resolutions remind us, we love attaching a number to advice, a number smaller than the one I regard as most realistic: The Twenty Three Thousand, Four Hundred and Sixty Two Things It’s Important to Remember Before Getting Out of Bed.
So be warned; I haven’t really honed it down to only seven; these are just the first seven essentials that came to mind when I decided to do this. And not in order, either.
The compost bins at Stonecrop Gardens in Cold Spring, New York.
* Make Compost
* Use Compost
* Plant Crops in Wide Beds
* Feed the Soil, Not the Plants
* Share Something
* Be There
Short version: Mother Nature never throws anything away.
Longer version: Composting is the rare silk purse from sow’s ear, something for nothing win-win. You start out with kitchen, yard and garden debris and wind up with two benefits: 1) a great soil amendment and 2) many green points for avoiding the landfill.
It’s easy to fall into thinking that compost’s last name is bin, and that careful layering and turning are part of the deal. But piling shredded leaves in a corner counts too. So does “trench composting,” handy for those with little garden space, and so does bringing your kitchen scraps to a place (try the nearest community garden) that will compost them if you can’t. I have a friend in Manhattan, for instance, who brings her coffee grounds, orange peels and such to the Lower East Side Ecology Center at Union Square Greenmarket.