One of my goals for 2010 was to cut down on some of my consumption (of goods, of processed foods, of the Jersey Shore) and as a family we actually started a composting effort a few years ago. I figure hey, I’m no expert, but here’s what we do and so far it’s working great for our family, and maybe could inspire others to start composting.
- In our kitchen we have a stainless steel compost bucket on the counter top. It’s pretty stink free and half the time I expect Oscar the Grouch to pop out of it.
- In the yard we have two wire compost cages by our trash bins.
- The only other tool involved is a big garden shovel to turn the compost and we have that around anyway.
- In general we try to put any food scraps we have into the bin on the counter. We toss in any food scraps and used unprinted papertowels. (For instance from drying my hands, etc). It’s surprising how fast the bin fills up with potato peels, unfinished apples, onion roots, and the produce I forgot was in the fridge. Including cilantro. Damn you cilantro – I can’t keep you more than a day without wilting.
- In the yard – which is not my territory to be honest – we* compost leaves and grass clipings, weeds and other green matter to keep it out of the trash
- We use the compost during gardening and also if we put down grass seed.
- Worms the size of a small anaconda magically appeared in our compost during the summer and they keep it decomposing for us. We turn it on occasion with our big shovel.
- Another related task for us is mulching our leaves in the fall using our leaf blower with a mulching attachment. They keep well in leaf bags in our garage over the winter and spring. We then use them as mulch in our garden all summer. This worked really well for us last year and helped keep weeds down and moisture in the soil.
- We also feed the squirrels and birds any leftover grain, bread, crackers, and other snacks that have gone stale.
The most surprising thing about the compost for me was that it doesn’t smell bad. I thought it’d smell like rotten food, but actually it just smells like dirt. I don’t have any real data, but I think it has cut down on our kitchen trash considerably and the rich compost is really great for our plants.
What’s next in our effort? I’d like to learn more about collecting rainwater and a garden is in the works for the summer. Bring on the tomatoes.
I think this DVD contains one of my favorite episodes of Curious George where he starts making compost in every available container in his apartment.
We found this Mike McGrath book on Compost helpful. Does anyone else listen to You Bet Your Garden?
Lee Valley Website where we purchased our bins.
*Most of the time when I say “we” I mean “my husband.”