Composting. Uggghhh, gross. I know, I know…not a positive statement but uhhh, really? I mean – I love me a farmers market just as much as the next person….I grew up in Hawaii and Northern California….I made all of Gray’s babyfood and even did the cloth diaper thing for a time, just like my mom. I totally “get it” - but for some reason, the inner-hippy in me has never approached composting with anything else but a scrunched up nose. When I was VERY newly pregnant in May of 2010, I visited my girlfriend in Columbia, SC – Colleen. She was composting at the time and showed me her contraption and I thought, “ok, that’s not too bad - I can do that” – but of course I never did =).
Fast forward two years and I’m ready. Or, I think I’m ready.
You see, I am proud to feed my darling 16 month old primarily locally sourced fruits and veggies. I am even helping to harvest with an Island farmer later this season to get crops from him. So the amount of carrot strawberry and eggplant tops, sweet potato & banana peels and egg shells that I toss each day is monumental. This kid eats well! Why not get that good stuff into the garden? Sidenote: this garden is a laugh b/c I can barely keep my basil plant alive, but whatever….I’m trying.
So this weekend, I started looking at composters online. Found one for $150 (of course I did) – but before splurging, I thought…why not make my own to see if I actually go through with this? Thus…my homemade composter. I’ll let you know if it works in a few weeks. =)
I found my idea online here. I took an extra Rubbermaid container from the attic and took a marker and marked where my holes would go. Then, I took the drillbit and drilled through the air holes. I’m sure there is a better explanation…but the little I know about composting is that it needs heat and air to circulate the “natural” stuff and break it down. Hence, the holes.
I put holes all over the top, sides and bottom to allow for proper air flow and circulation.
I rested the composter on bricks to allow for the air to come up from the bottom.
The site recommended using bungee cords to keep the lid on but I just used a potted plant. It looked prettier anyways….the one on the website was round, so you could roll it around the yard to “turn” it. I’m just keeping ours off the back porch next to the kitchen so I opted to use what we had in the attic. Another site recommended using a Rubbermaid tub with wheels, so you can just wheel it around the garden. Cool idea, right!
Check out what we had for dinner last night. Artichokes, beets, chicken, roasted veggies. =) Stale bread and old bagels were thrown in there too. You are supposed to have a mixture of 50/50 green to brown and when it smells, add more green. So all the stuff in there right now would be considered “green”, so I need to throw some leaves, dirt, etc in there for the brown.
BTW, the actual composting doesn’t gross me out, turning it does, however. Don’t know how I’m going to stomach that scenario during the sweltering South Carolina summers!
Here’s to happy composting everyone!!!
What can you compost??? Taken from here -
Green / wet materials
- Fruit and veggie scraps
- Egg shells
- Tea bags, tea leaves
- Fresh green grass clippings and plant trimmings grown without pesticides or weed killers
- Plate scrapings (excluding meat and bones)
Brown / dry materials
- Dry leaves, dried grass clippings
- Wood shavings or sawdust
- Nuts and shells
- Coffee grounds and filters
- Pinecones, pine needles
- Shredded egg cartons (the paper kind)
- Shredded newspaper and tissue paper
- Peanut shells
- Cold wood ashes
- Dryer lint
- Shredded cereal boxes and other paperboard items
What can I compost?
Leftovers, plate scrapings: Absolutely, except meat and bones.
No Pet poop: Avoid adding animal waste to your compost, unless you plan to use your compost strictly on ornamental plants — not on veggie or fruit trees/bushes. If you have a commercial composting facility nearby that takes drop-offs or has curbside pickup, ask if they accept pet waste. Or consider an in-ground dog-poo composting setup like the Doggie Doolie.
No Meat and bones: Not in a home composter. As with compostable plates and such, compost in a residential compost bin or pile typically doesn’t get hot enough to sufficiently break down meat or bones. Same goes for dairy products, sauces, oils and fats: These may be OK in small doses as part of plate scrapings, but you don’t want to pour a cup of bacon grease or cheese sauce in your compost.
No Diseased plants, seeding weeds or wet grass: They can cause plant diseases or weeds to grow in your compost or among the plants you apply them to.
No Inorganic materials such as synthetic pesticides, weed killer, plastics, medicines, cleaning chemicals: Composting is a natural organic process; inorganic stuff unsurprisingly messes it up — i.e., kills the microorganisms that make compost happen.