Friday, September 14, 2007

Lazy Composting

Hi Everyone! This week we're talking compost. I get questions all of the time about composting. Is it worth it? Is it difficult? Is it messy? My answer is always that it is so easy! And, you will dramatically reduce the amount of trash you send to the landfill (reducing your personal carbon footprint), since Americans throw away 12%-25% of the food we purchase to eat.

The Guide to Lazy Composting...

First of all, we bought a plastic bin with a carbon filter to keep on the kitchen counter. That way for a few days at a time, I can just collect the kitchen scaps as I'm cooking. All kitchen scraps except for meat, dairy, eggs or oil can go into the compost. Vegetable and fruit scaps, peels, rinds, coffee grounds, filters, tea bags, etc. can all be composted. Rachel Ray keeps a "garbage bowl" on her counter when cooking. I do the same thing, it's just a "compost bowl" at our house. To buy one go to this website.

Then, we keep a large trash can with a lid out in the back yard. Every few days, dump the kitchen scraps into the outdoor trash can. Basically compost is just rotten organic material, that becomes a great soil additive for a strong organic garden. Without going into too much detail, you want a balance of carbon, nitrogen, moisture and oxygen. So, practically speaking, you want an approximate balance of "brown" (shredded newspapers, toilet paper rolls, leaves) and "green" material (kitchen scraps, grass clippings.) If you begin your compost in the fall, start with a nice base of leaves from your yard, then just add the kitchen scraps all winter until the compost is ready for your spring garden. When you start again in the spring, add layers of toilet paper rolls or shredded newspaper from time to time to keep your kitchen scraps from getting too moist.

And, that's it!

For another perspective on "lazy composting," check out today's tip from The Green Life.

More Composting Resources:
Compost Guide
EPA's Guide to Composting
TerraCycle (organic fertilizer made and packaged entirely from waste!!!)

Happy Composting!
Hit the farmer's market this fall as often as you can! Winter's coming!

Keep up the great questions. And, check the main website weekly for new links.
Take care ecomamas!


Ally said...

Good tips, Jessica. Also, if folks aren't into dealing with their own compost, they should check into whether the city will pick it up for use as compost. Then you just collect food scraps, etc, in a waste container, and put it into the compost bin and take it out to the curb each week with the trash can.

Jessica Drummond, MPT said...

Thanks for the suggestion. I know that Ann Arbor does take compostables. Check it out!

m said...

I'm on my second compost bin! It is so easy and I get the kids involved. I did the "poor-mans" bin b/c I refuse to pay top dollar for the ones they try to sell.

I bought a metal trashcan. Drilled holes in the bottom and side for ventilation and water drainage (if need be) and viola! It's amazing to open the full one and feel heat when I stir it.

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