by Donal O’Leary


When the autumn leaves fall down
Forest floor is filled with brown
Who will eat these leaves and twigs
Like a horde of hungry pigs?
Mighty mushrooms, jolly germs,
Magic millipedes, wondrous worms
Eat all Mother Nature’s waste
For which they have a special taste
But what they give us in return
Is what we are about to learn.


When it’s time for our spring clean
Busy buds burst lush and green
Insects birds and mammals too
Eat and drink and have a poo
Do we eat poo? I don’t, do you?
But there are other beings that do.
The germs and worms will get quite fat
Snacking on a bit of that.
Tiny creatures in the ground
Working hard without a sound
They’re the ones we love the most
Cos when they eat, they make compost.


If you have a great big lawn
You’ll be up at the crack of dawn
Mowing lawns is unexciting
Unless you learn about Grasscycling
But if you have some fresh cut grass
You can make your compost fast.
Grass is green, it’s wet as well,
And on its own it starts to smell
But if you mix it with some brown
You’ll make compost of great renown. 


Greens and browns? I hear you say
Well straw is brown, and so is hay.
Paper, cardboard, autumn leaves
And sawdust too, would you believe.
Greens are wet and fresh and sticky
And composting them can be quite tricky
Because they stick and stink and ooze
And without brown, you’ll get the blues.
Grass and food waste, gerbil poo
Mix with brown stuff through and through
So they won’t smell but make good food
For creatures of small magnitude.


If you want to be a good rotter
Greens and browns and air and water
Are the things your compost needs
To make black gold to grow your seeds
So make a pile or compost bin
And put all these ingredients in
Greens add nitrogen to make it hot
Browns add carbon to help it rot.
The browns will also help to air
By making spaces in the compost lair.
So mix ‘em up with lots of water
And watch your compost pile get hotter.


Different homes have different needs
So if you want to compost weeds
A holding bin is just about right
Just keep it in a shady site
Grass and browns, mix them in
And put them in your holding bin.
If you have a great big plot
You’ll need to compost a lot.
Have you heard of a turning system?
Many people can’t resist them.
They take more work but very fast
You’ll make compost unsurpassed.


If your waste is mostly kitchen
Separate the fact from fiction.
Keep the meat waste for brown bin
Or get Bokashi to put it in.
Bokashi pickles it, you see
Which is great don’t you agree?
Green Cones and metal bins
Keep rodents out, keep goodness in.
If what you have are veggie peelings
A wormery gives a fuzzy feeling.
Or simplest of all, to make leaf mould,
Just pile them up til they grow old.


We’re near the end of our compost rhyme
So thank you for your valuable time
We hope you’ve learned a thing or three
About the compost family
Microbes, worms and all their kind
Make compost from your melon rind
So get out there and get composting
“I’m helping the world” you’ll soon be boasting.


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