Thursday, May 23, 2013
THE COMPLETE BOOK OF COMPOSTING
Submitted by Jacki Brewer
I found this vintage composting book a while back that was published in 1960. It is The Complete Book of Composting by J.I. Rodale and Staff. Seemed a good book to have in a gardener’s library.
This is the first sentence in the introduction, “Compost is the core, the essential foundation of natural gardening and farming. It is the heart of the organic concept.”
The following is an excerpt from chapter one, The History of Compost. It reads like a descriptive narrative of a wonderful documentary:
“In the soft, warm bosom of a decaying compost heap, a transformation from life to death and back again is taking place. Life is leaving the living plants of yesterday, but in their death these leaves and stalks pass on their vitality to the coming generations of future seasons. Here in a dank and mouldy pile the wheel of life is turning.
‘Compost is more than a fertilizer or a healing agent for the soil’s wounds. It is a symbol of continuing life. Nature herself made compost before man first walked the earth and before the first dinosaur reared its head above a primeval swamp. Leaves falling to the forest floor and slowly mouldering are composting. The dead grass of the meadow seared by winter’s frost is being composted by the dampness of the earth beneath. The birds, the insects and the animals contribute their bodies to this vast and continuing soil rebuilding program of nature.
‘The compost heap in your garden is an intensified version of this process of death and rebuilding which is going on almost everywhere in nature. In the course of running a garden there is always and accumulation of organic wastes of different sorts---leaves, grass clippings, weeds, twigs---and since time immemorial gardeners have been accumulating this material in piles, eventually to spread it back on the soil as rich, dark humus.
‘Because the compost heap is symbolic of nature’s best effort to build the soil and because compost is the most efficient and practical fertilizer, it has become the heart of the organic method. The compost heap is to the organic gardener what the typewriter is the writer, what the shovel is to the laborer and what the truck is to the truckdriver. It is the basic tool to do the job which is to be done. In the case of the organic gardener the job is the creation of the finest garden soil he knows how to build, and compost has proven itself through thousands of years of use to be the best tool for the job.”
Couldn’t be more beautifully written. Probably because Rodale (1898-1971) himself was a writer to begin with before he began his pursuit of promoting a healthy and active lifestyle with an emphasis on organic foods and gardening. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerome_Irving_Rodale