Easy Compost

March 28, 2010

Have you heard of those people who reduced their trash to one bag over an entire year? Click here to read their story. Feeling inspired? Well, it’s no where near that extreme, but I can share with you one way to reduce what you send to the landfill. Besides recycling, which I know everyone does (right?), it’s really easy to set up a composting system to take care of all your biodegradable trash. This also saves you money later on, because you’ll have nutrient rich soil for gardening and won’t need to buy fertilizers or much of anything else. A lot of people think you need special equipment for composting or that it takes a lot of effort, so I wanted to share this simple, super secret, Miracle compost method (free for all subscribers)! ;)

To get started you create a healthy habitat for worms, grubs and other organisms that will decompose your food. We were lucky to have a head start when we moved in. Our landlord had been piling grass clippings in a corner of our backyard by the fence line. This was an excellent starter pile and it’s pretty easy to replicate. If you live in an apartment with no access to a yard, I recommend this easy indoor method.

From there, we started collecting food scraps from the kitchen: coffee grinds, tea bags, banana peels, onion skins, apple cores… We buried our scraps in the pile and the worms did the rest. With time we learned to trust the pile’s composting power. We started burying all sorts of biodegradable trash and within a few days or weeks it would disappear!

Just an ordinary bowl!

Here’s a list of other things you can compost:

  • paper towels and the cardboard tube
  • toilet paper and tissues
  • coffee grinds and the filter
  • tea bags with the tag and staple!
  • napkins
  • toothpicks
  • hair trimmings
  • lint from the dryer
  • dirt from the vacuum
  • cotton balls and cotton swabs
  • small amounts of shredded paper
  • old rags
  • parchment paper
  • natural kitty litter
  • yard waste

Be aware that non-food waste will take a little longer to disappear. Having a special section for more time consuming compost may be helpful during planting seasons.

Note: Some things should not go in the compost pile. These include anything treated with pesticides or chemicals, including nail-polish remover, bleach, or antibacterial cleaners. Also you should steer clear of burying meat scraps if you are worried about pests. Anything that can be recycled should also not go in the compost pile.

We have been composting for several years now with very little effort and great results. Combined with recycling and cooking from scratch we have greatly reduced our contribution to landfills. We also have fertile soil for growing our own tomatoes and herbs. My favorite part, besides all that, are the surprise vegetables that crop up in the pile. It’s a great discovery to find squash, celery, onions, garlic, and potatoes growing effortlessly in our yard! Now I just need to learn how to harvest them!

Photo from Harvest to Table. I forgot to take one!
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