Sunday, July 9, 2017

Composting for the lazy but patient

I am all for composting my kitchen and yard waste.  It's good for Mother Nature and a great way to build up the soil in gardens and flower beds.  And, it is frugal.

All your plant based kitchen waste can be composted as can grass clippings and leaves.  So much better to make something useful from them rather than put them in the landfill.

Usually, compost goes in big bins, is built in layers, and needs to be periodically turned so that the stuff from the outside end up in the center and the stuff from the center end up on the outside.  This helps things decompose into compost faster.

I get that.  Really.  But I'm just not thrilled with turning decomposing kitchen waste.  So I compost in a way that is much easier, although slower.  I use a series of garbage cans.

First, I have my husband drill some holes in the bottom, sides and lid.  Then, we place them on blocks or bricks to allow air flow.  The first layer is always newspaper followed by grass or leaves.  Then I start adding plant based kitchen waste and egg shells.  Don't add greasy things, fat or meat.  They slow the decomposing way down and could attract unwanted critters.

The holes provide drainage and airflow, and the holes in the top allow rain to get in and keep things moist.  This will aid in decomposition.

Once you start adding kitchen scraps you will be pleasantly surprised at how long it takes to fill the garage can.  This is because as things decompose they shrink down and settle, allowing you to add more.

Once the can is full, add a layer of grass, leaves or shredded paper,  wet things down, put on the lid and move on to can two.  I usually have three cans going at once.

Decomposition is faster in warmer months and slows down as things get colder.  I've found that where we live it takes about a year for things to reach compost level.  Different climates will be faster or slower.

It is compost when it looks dark and rich and you can no longer identify the ingredients that made it.

And no, it is not smelly.  If you begin to notice a smell add a layer of newspaper, grass or leaves and wet things down well.

Also, we have never attracted unwanted critters.

Best of all, it I easy.

Help Mother Nature.  Save money.  Save work.  A triple play.

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