Monday, January 24, 2011


People that don't compost think "Ew, that's gross!!!!".  People who do compost think it's the most amazing process.  I fall into the second category.  It's basically just decomposition accelerated.  A great science project for adults.

Composting is quite simple, really.  Or, at least it is the way I do it.  I have a little pail that sits in my kitchen for scraps.  No meat, no bread.  Easy enough rules.

It's copper, to match my cabinet hardware.  :)  A lot of people just put an old plastic jug under the sink.

OK, then you just throw that into a big pile outside.  This is totally individual.  Some people use pallets to form a bin, others buy special compost mixers.   There are several factors here.  Price.  Looks.  Neighborhood.  Speed.  You need to take all these things into account.  This has been the hardest part for me - making a decision.

Here's the lingo of composting:  browns and greens.  Here's what the lingo means:
Browns:  leaves, sawdust, hay, paper (hint: shred it first for easy composting.)
Greens:  all that stuff in the pail (fruit & veggie scraps), weeds (pull them before they seed), grass clippings, coffee grounds, tea bags

Now comes the mathematical part.  Don't freak out!  You can eyeball it and it'll probably be fine.  I've heard different ratios from 2 parts browns to 1 part greens, up to 5 part browns to 1 part greens.  Whatever.  Just throw in some browns and a little greens.  If it stinks, add more browns.  If it's just sitting there forever, you need more greens.  Simple.  Layering the greens and browns helps the compost break down faster.

Water & Air - add enough water so it will be moist, but you don't want it sopping wet.  Add more browns if it's too wet.  Air is added as you turn the compost.  You don't have to turn it very often, and I usually just stir it around every couple of weeks, or whenever I think about it.

That's it!  Depending on what kind of compost mixer you have, you will soon have compost!  If you have one of those tumblers, you might have compost in 2 weeks.  I just throw mine in a big bin and it takes about a year.

Trust me - this will be good stuff soon!
Why try it?  Compost is like super vitamins for your garden.  And, it's a worm attractor.  That's a good thing.  If you're of the squeamish kind, don't think about the worms.  But they're really good for your soil.

The strange thing:  After you get into composting, you start to really look at your garbage.  You'll be amazed what all can go into your compost pile.  Almost all mail (no plastic windows, no glossy magazines), 100% cotton shirts, cardboard, egg shells, all that dust from your vacuum cleaner, hair and fingernail clippings, manure from: horses, cows, chickens, rabbits.

A couple of things to remember:  No meats, no bread, no yeast, no dairy, no manure from any animal that eats meat, and no weed seeds (unless you want that weed all over your garden).

Reduce your garbage!  Get into composting!  You can try this at home!

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