Compost

While I have lots of good excuses for putting off planting a vegetable garden (my cats ate the heirloom tomato seedlings I had started—and then threw them up inside the house), I got a real jump-start last weekend when I finally got around to exploring a tip about free compost available from the city of Fort Worth. (From Campus Drive traveling north, you take a right on Joe B. Rushing Road, and then take your first left. You’ll see a pile of compost on the left.) Take a friend for both safety and manpower; it’s a somewhat remote location and depending on your needs, it’d be hard work for one person. We took a box of trash bags and a couple of shovels and loaded up the minivan with enough bags of compost to fill half of the raised bed that’s in place in our backyard, awaiting transplants (which will be storebought, thanks to the cats). This week we’ll make another trip to gather the rest. The compost is pretty hot in the middle; in fact, we saw steam as we shoveled into the pile, which was encouraging, as a few candy wrappers near the entrance made us wonder what the compost was made of, exactly. It’s a deep, dark mahogany color and looks pretty darn rich. Next up will be backyard composting, which I’d like to start soon, so it’ll be ready for use next season. We’ve always had an open pile, and that worked well back in Northeast Ohio, where it’s cool nine months out of the year. I’m thinking about switching to a closed container here, as we have a smaller lot and Fort Worth has such a long hot season. Any tips on urban composters?