2.21.2011

Taking on Basic Composting

Tim and I have been talking about composting our kitchen waste* for a few years now and it was finally time to stop only talking about it by taking matters into our own hands. We knew we wanted to do it ourselves and start out really basic so it becomes something we can lean into as we learn more instead of a huge project we get overwhelmed with - I always think when you start simple, there's always room for growth and improvement.

After researching basic tutorials, we decided to go with a ventilated bin process that we can add to and mix manually over time. The project basically consisted of drilling holes throughout the sides and base of a metal lidded trash bin with a power drill. The holes are there so air can reach the compost. Once drilled, we added layers of dry leaves from the yard, kitchen scraps, and more leaves. We lidded up the bin and placed it on wood planks - again, for ventilation. We plan to continue in this fashion, mixing the compost every week or so, until we start to get that dark rich substance we are hoping to cover the garden with in late spring/summer.

I'm more than thrilled we've finally found a sustainable solution for leftover kitchen waste* other than the garbage. I'm also nerding out a little on the idea that we'll have much less garbage not to mention the sustainable foods we buy and use today will transform into nutrients that will feed and nourish the food we grow months from now - and so the cycle will continue.

*By kitchen waste/scraps I mean: fruit, vegetables, plants, egg shells, and coffee grinds. I understand it's not good to compost meat, bones, dairy, or any processed types of foods. That being said, it's our first time taking on DIY composting, so any tips for success are more than welcome!

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P.S.
As an aside, Basil was intent on supervising the project from start to finish. Can you believe how much he's grown since we first brought him home and even over the holidays? He just turned 6 months old and is still all puppy - just bigger. I promise a more robust Basil update soon.
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9 comments:

  1. We are hoping to do the same thing in our new yard! However I don't think I'll be able to start our garden until next summer. Might practice composting this year for our potted herb garden though. Thanks for the tips!

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  2. We have been composting for over a year now, and I have to say that our trash has been reduced noticibly, and our plants and flowers and veggies in our garden and yard are doing famously!
    Have fun and good luck~
    Nathalie

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  3. @Lindsey - I think starting ahead may be the way to go since I hear the process can take up to months to really begin. Hope you'll let me know how it goes!

    @Nathalie - so glad to hear it's working for you, would love to learn more from your experience!

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  4. We have a 3 bin open air compost in our backyard made from old pallets. It took us a while to get the hang of it too. We also have a worm bin inside the house. We been doing that for about 3 years. It doesn't take up a lot of room & those little fellas eat a ton. Worm poop tea ( I know it sounds weird) has been wonderful for our garden. So many great properties.

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  5. Hi Mary.
    I migrated over from Sherry's blog.
    Good luck with your compost!
    We have a fenced in area behind our garden where we compost. We just throw grass clippings, bags of leaves hauled from town and kitchen scraps. We don't turn the pile; just dig from the bottom. Down to the dark crumbly wormy compost.
    When it's time to use it, I put a shovelful around the plants or broadcast it within the beds. It goes farther that way.
    Have fun~
    Katie

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  6. We love to compost! I just can't look inside at all the worms.

    Basil looks lovely (and big)!

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  7. I actually love to look at the worms in our compost. It makes such a difference in our garden.

    It took us a year or so to get really good compost and we learned not to add oak leaves.

    They just take too long to decompose.

    Best of luck,
    xoSherry

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  8. This post made me laugh, in an unobtrusive way. We have a compost too, but we live out in the country - so, uh, we don't have an "official receptacle" we just have a 'pile' that stuff gets tossed on (and all the critters that wander through our yard kind of delight in). But then, we live in front of a farm field (we have an "orchard" in the back yard and the deer really enjoy all the rotten apples) in a rural area.

    It always kind of makes me chuckle that people can organize the process of nature taking it's course :D
    Anyway, have fun being green : )

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  9. Thanks so much for the advice all - I think we definitely need more worms as we are just adding them as we come across them. I hear worms really get the magic happening when it comes to composting.

    @Sherry, am thinking it will be taking us a long time as well - maybe better for next year's garden instead of this year.

    @Sarah, I'm just imagining how beautiful your land must be. The thought of an orchard in the back yard is stunning - you must share photos with me at some point, I'm quite envious!

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