Thursday, November 17, 2005


"a public service announcement from your friendly environmentalist"

troyboy built us a compost bin!
he used plywood and two-by-fours to create a rectangle, open on the bottom, with a hinged lid.
we collect our kitchenscraps in a bowl, and then dump 'em in everyday. we also threw some crunchy fall leaves into the mix, and added a little bit of dirt (kinda like a sourdough starter--ha!), and some worms to start the process. i just transported the worms from another part of the yard. the former tenants of our house left behind a little kids' shovel that we can use to stir the compost.

you can start your own compost. companies make fancy shmancy barrel composters on spinner spits that supposedly work really fast. or you can be handy like troyboy and create your own with some wood and screws and stuff. but really all you need is an open-bottomed container with a lid. in lextown, the city gave away old garbage bins that they had sliced the bottoms off of.
there are many varying methods according to your genre of agricultural philosophy as to what to include, how, how often, and when to turn it--including but not at all limited to rituals involving cow skulls and full moons (i heard that one from a girlfriend who worked on a biodynamic farm north of here). but i go by the simplest method involving little work and attention. this takes longer to get the finished product, but it still works. we throw all of our veggie kitchen scraps in there--rotten veggies, rinds, peels, cores, seeds, worn-out leftovers (including pasta, rice, bread), egg shells, coffee grounds, filters, teabags--anything but what's been cooked with a lot of oil, and no meat or meat grease (rotting meat invites unwanted non-worm critters. in our household we just toss meat scraps under the table to troyboy--HA!). we buy pretty much all organic, so we know that the compost we create is pretty much all organic, too--cool, huh?
it also needs some yard waste like leaves in there, too, if you've got it--if not, mix in a few sheets of ripped-up newspaper once in a while. the idea is to alternate layers of moist (kitchen scraps) with layers of dry (leaves/paper). with a bin this size, if we mix it up with the shovel every week or so, we could have beautiful, loose, darkbrown composted soil within a year. or if we didn't do much but toss stuff in there--within a coupla years.
composting is a great way to rid your kitchen trashcan of mess, stink and flies. and one more thing that's in the compost bin is one less thing that's taking up space in a landfill! nothing makes plants--even houseplants--happier than gorgeous, rich compost that you and the magical worms cultivated yourself.
(heard from mackindaddy in the backyard on day two of the bin: i just broke my compost virginity!!)

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