Thursday, September 20, 2012

Gardening and Composting

In an effort to save a bit of money and to eat more greens, we are going to attempt to grow a small garden next year. Nothing too exciting, just a small experiment to see if we can do it. So in an effort to be a bit more environmentally conscious and to have some nice fertilizer for our garden, we started to compost. So far, it's been ..... interesting.

You see, I am no green thumb. I tend to over-water plants, except for cacti, which I don't water enough. So how in the world will I ever get a garden to grow? Hopefully I can read enough books by some other smart people to make things work.

Meanwhile, I get to play with rotten food in the composter. I did some research and learned what can and can't go into a compost pile. I learned there were a million ways to make them and a million ways to take care of them. So I opted for the small, simple option of building a composter out of a trashcan. Why spend all that money on an expensive composter that you struggle with to open? And why build a huge compost pile made out of nice, new lumber that will end up rotting in the ground anyway? None of that made sense to me so I read a few blogs and online articles about trashcan composters and built my own. Actually, I didn't build it. I bought it. For roughly $15, I was able to buy a decent sized trashcan at the local hardware store. I had a drill and drill bit already so I just drilled holes in the bottom, sides, and top of the can.

Voila! A composter! I added some mulch to the bottom just to weight it down a bit and began collecting trash from the house. I learned that meat and dairy don't belong in the compost heap so I avoided collecting those. I knew we would be able to have egg shells and coffee and tea grounds on hand pretty easily. I drink one or two coffees a day and Yvonne drinks one iced tea a day. She also eats an egg sandwich in the morning, so I knew we'd have a decent start. Plus, our house is pretty much dairy-free due to William's allergies. We still have cheese and food that has dairy in it but for the most part, we're milk-free.

My biggest dilemma was how to collect the compost inside the house but without attracting the bugs or producing an awful stink. So, I re-purposed a OXO Good Grips container by taking out the dishwasher soap and putting the compost-to-be inside. It has a lid that seals, it's large enough to collect scraps for a few days but small enough to fit in the dishwasher, and it's easy to see what's inside (and when it gets full).

We've already filled it up twice (the inside container) and last night I had the kids help me dump out the second load. We went outside and opened the trashcan and were suddenly assaulted by a cloud of bugs. I mean, literally, a cloud of flying bugs. So I shooed them away and dumped the stuff inside. I added some scrap newspaper (I ripped it up first) then added some water.

I have no idea how well this will work. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed. And my nose plugged.


Kim said...

We just use a ziplock bag and put all the stuff into it until we go by the garden next.
Also throw your coffee filters in the compost too.

Neil Richard said...

We use a Keurig machine for coffee and tea but I've learned that the top of the K-cups can be taken off like the top to a Motts applesauce cup. Just slightly more messy. But it works!