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1st Post! The Soil Project: The Beginnings.

Welcome to The Soil Project! Ever since I was little, I have loved gardening and composting, even though I feel like I've never really got 'good' at it. One of my favourite childhood memories is digging up the family compost pile in the summer with my dad and adding what he called, the 'black gold' to our spindly garden.

It's not for a lack of trying on my parents' part; they have lovingly tended to their yard for decades without much success. I always wondered why the plants never grew except for at the back of the house - it was north-facing, got practically no sunlight and was permanently shaded by huge pine trees... but it those plants were right next to the compost bin. Fancy that!

We were not careful or selective about what went in to the compost bin. It was n in-ground composting cone and practically the only thing that didn't go in there was the kitchen sink. No meat, bones or fats, of course, but everything else you could possibly think of including (but not limited to) tomato off cuts, onions, garlic, ginger, lemon rinds, copious amounts of tea and coffee waste, grapefruit skins, orange peels and whole egg shells. As soon as our little under-sink compost bucket was full, one of the children would be sent out back to empty it out into the main compost bin, rain or shine, summer or winter, bears or not. In the summer, the fruit flies would take up residence and the plume would hit you in the face upon flipping open the lid. I swear I still have some embedded in my brain.

What's more, I don't remember that we ever added any 'browns' to the pile. All landscaping waste would be dumped 'up the back' for the pine forest biome to decompose in its own time. It took ages. But our compost pile and the red worms that lived within it turned over nicely. The things that took the longest to break down were the egg shells, avocado skins and grapefruit rinds, but everything else broke down into something that looked like a worm brownie. It was devine. It smelled almost as good in a very different way.

Through research, trial and error, I have found many of these experiences applicable and many just plain foolish. This is the whole point of The Soil Project. How can we improve our soil, no matter where we are and how much space we have.

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