That Smell

Ooh, that smell
Can’t you smell that smell?
Ooh, that smell
The smell of death surrounds you, yeah

Thank you, Lynyrd Skynyrd, for penning today’s theme song. Allow me to explain.

Last fall while researching Build a Compost Tumbler, I learned all sorts of good stuff that helped me reinvigorate our composting process here at home. In fact, to Zippy’s absolute delight, we now have three compost bins (one free-standing and two tumblers). And one of the biggest changes to our composting method is that we no longer put weeds in our trash where they end up creating methane and carbon dioxide in the landfill.

Unwelcome plant aka WEED.

Unwelcome plant aka WEED.

The prickly lettuce, the bindweed, the thistles, the grasses gone to seed, all those things go into a lidded garbage can full of water.

You see, I learned from Bob Flowerdew** that weed seeds and roots will die if left submerged in water for two weeks. (Weeds are valuable compost materials that are often left out because of the fear that the invasive weeds will spread via the compost.)  But you know what else happens after those two weeks of submersion? The water is transformed into one of Mr. Flowerdew’s favorite things: vile liquids. He loves them because vile liquids are great additives to your composting piles. Vile liquids accelerate the composting process.

Early stages of the tumbler Zippy and I built before I wrote the book.

Early stages of the tumbler Zippy and I built before I wrote the book.

But if left too long, vile liquids will, oddly enough, give off the aroma you’d expect from a vile liquid. (Think farmyard plus death plus your next three least favorite smells). It’s imperative you wear old clothes and shoes while handling vile liquids, especially when you’ve allowed your weeds to marinate for a month or longer. (Oops.) And woe to you if you happen to splash any on exposed skin.

Ooh, that smell

So yes, I did handle vile liquids today. And yes, despite the latex gloves (you want one-use gloves for this chore), I got vile liquids on my hand and now all I can smell is that horrifying combination of stink. (The stink does go away, just never fast enough).

Lynyrd Skynyrd is playing on a loop in my head as I try my best to think ahead to the rich compost I’ll someday be adding back into the earth.
Spring garden shots 018

**best compost-guru name ever!