Composting

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My little composting pot

By request!  Well along with recycling, I started composting pretty seriously at the new house because trash costs money here.  You have to go to the dump, and trash costs $1/bag whereas recycling is free, and obviously anything you can keep out of the trash is better.

I should say: I have really not mastered the art of outdoor composting.  I tried to make a composting bin out of one of those Lowes buckets by drilling holes in it for aeration.  But a) that’s not enough oxygen and b) it was not big enough.  I started putting chicken poop in there to become fertilizer until it quickly filled up.  So I let it sit there through the winter and spring, shaking it occasionally, getting oxygen in there.  Late spring 2013 I turned it over and out slid a giant bucket-shaped chicken poo.  No composting accomplished!  I think I need to buy one of those large rotating dealies from Lowes which you can turn with a crank like a large bingo tumbler.  Then empty and refill whenever.

But I digress… I *have* pretty much mastered kitchen composting.  I started out putting organic waste in little paper sandwich bags (because they were around, and could be recycled afterwards).  I was pleased that it smelled a little less bad than the same waste in the trash barrel.  But those paper bags could come to really smell bad after a while.  And they leaked…  So a few months back we bought this “kitchen countertop composter” shown above, from Amazon.  I think it was about $40… well spent!

It has a filter inside to keep smells in, but also holes in the top for aeration.  It looks nice, and isn’t too obvious or large.  It’s got an inside liner with a handle so you’re not schlepping the ceramic around.  I don’t think this device has enough aeration either: mold is pretty quick to form in there if you don’t empty it about every week or few days.  I got lazy recently and had to even wash out the inside, which I do not wish to ever do again.  But overall if you use it right, it’s a pretty handy thing.

So I chuck everything in there, and then dump it all in a pile in the back yard between the failed chicken poop bucket and brush we’ve chopped down. That’s the whole story.  I would love to hear what successful outdoor composting schemes others have.  Preferably something simple.

So I’m not in the black gold fertilizer business yet, but this process still resonates with my recently developing life philosophy.  It seems right to me to return that which came directly from the earth back to the earth.  Parts of fruits and vegetables that just just sprouted from the land some weeks or months ago should not lie around with McDonalds cups in a heap for years.  At least the organic waste can decompose safely in the yard and become instant snacks for nearby animals, or fuel for the soil later on.  So it goes on to serve another purpose, rather than becoming permanent refuse forever.

I have a strong, almost spiritual feeling that if you must take from the earth, you should use every bit or re-use to the greatest extent possible.  And peaceful return to the earth for absorption and renewed or converted energy is far preferable to integration with manmade material (a.k.a. mount trashmore).

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4 thoughts on “Composting

  1. Cool! I know zero about composting (other than the fact that my parents one time made a compost pile in the back yard and used it for like a day, haha) but you make it look easy! That bucket is really cute- and that’s awesome that it keeps smells inside! That’s what I would be worried about…

    • Yeah getting it to the little pot is easy. Figuring out what to do outdoors is still a mystery. Winter is tough anyway so I’ve just been dumping it in a pile. I’ll try to get situated when it is warmer.

  2. Vanessa! I worked on a farm last Spring– they started incorporating their chicken poop into their compost, but they said they had to dry it first, or it would turn the compost (something about the PH?) I can get more details if you like. Love your blog– you’re doing some amazing stuff!

    • Hey Lindsey! Thanks for stopping by – long time no see. Yes chicken poop seems to need some pre-processing. What were you doing on a farm??

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