Thursday, 13 September 2007

Alchemy

It's amazing what comes in handy at the allotment. Cut grass becomes a blanket to suppress rebellious weeds; shredded paper, a tonic to heal my compost. Even the humble margarine tub finds new service: as a trap for predatory slugs.

I'm well aware that you can buy slug traps from the garden centre, along with plastic sheeting to keep weeds at bay, and all manner of compost-enhancing chemicals. But that’s too easy. There's a wonderful satisfaction to be found in re-purposing waste. Each piece of litter presents a puzzle, a money-saving opportunity with an environmental pay off.

A few months back, I had an embarrassing problem with my compost. Too many 'greens', not enough 'browns'. The compost was coming out mushy instead of crumbly. Meanwhile, my neighbour was throwing out his rabbit bedding each week, oblivious to its value as a 'brown'. Now, he sends half a bag less rubbish to the landfill, and my compost is redeemed. FantasticHow strange, that in modern, consumerist, Britain, I've got my eye on the rubbish. I feel like a bit of a freak. Shouldn't I be loading up my credit card?

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