There are many websites explaining the basics of composting, but we wanted to add our personal experience with it. While I am more of the gardener, and Ron is more of the maintenance/yard work guy, and we are both the chefs in the kitchen so composting is something that we can both do and benefit from together.
Composting is a great way to reduce the waste that goes in landfills, add beautiful dirt or mulch for your garden, and once you get it set up the price is minimal. Instead of buying those $10 bags of dirt from your local nursery, you are making nutrient rich stuff yourself. When we moved from an apartment to a townhome we were really able to take advantage of composting for two reasons: we actually had yard waste and grass clippings to add, and the space available to really compost the way we wanted. Our county gave free composting bins, it was an adjustable plastic wall that you curved in to a tubular container and added your compost. When we started composting I noticed that a lot of my kitchen waste was now able to go in to the compost bin:
Stuff from the house:
veggie/fruit peels, cores, rotten bits
dead flower arrangements
really every organic thing in the kitchen besides that on the “no” list.
Things you do not add from this category are meat, fat, oil, or dairy.
We were also adding stuff from the yard: grass clippings, leaves, animal bedding, tree clippings, hay, farm animal manure (horse, cow, chicken).
The things you do not add from this category are: dog/cat/people waste, weeds that have gone to seed, chemicals, metal, plastic.
We used this cylinder composter through fall, winter, and spring. We quickly realized we needed something to collect the kitchen scraps, and bought a cute little pail with a lid that we throw scraps in to carry to the compost pile. It fills up every few days, depending on what I am doing in the kitchen.
So now we are coming around to spring and are realizing a few things.
One. We make a lot of compost a week and with our recycling and composting, our trash creation is shrinking exponentially.
Two. At some point, you need to stop adding to the pile so that way everything can break down. We had one compost bin, and we added to it every week.
Three. With an open top, all sorts of furry animals may become interested in the compost. We had a squirrel invasion. We bought cayenne pepper in bulk, and it seemed to deter the little guys from it.
After these three lessons were learned, we decided to invest in a dual tumbler. The county got us hooked on composting, and now we needed to upgrade from the entry level to the luxury edition composter.
This dual tumbler would fix all three of our realizations: lots of room for compost, two bins- so while one is finishing, we can add to the other, and three, no little squirrels could get in it. I will spare you the agonizing details of building a seemingly easy apparatus, but 6 hours later, we had something I was so proud of, I hardly wanted to fill it with rotten stuff. The greatest benefit to date, is both getting that beautiful black gold to put in my garden, and the major reduction of trash for the trash man each week.
We love composting because it reduces landfills, adds to the garden, and it is just plain neat to watch your trash turn in to treasure. Happy composting!