Thursday, August 18, 2011

Compost triumph!

This post will be both short and kind of gross.

I have a black thumb. I hate the outdoors. But I really like pretty gardens. This has meant putting in plants that do well without much tending. My lavender is looking pretty great, as are the hostas and hens-and-chicks and some crazy thing we got at a nursery that was the same teeny size as all the other stuff we got but is now covered in pretty flowers and huge. The CSA thing is a compromise between wanting cheap, fresh, local vegetables and knowing that any veggies I planted would be doomed to near-immediate death.

Despite all of this, we decided to start composting instead of throwing organic scraps into the trash. The problem, as with so many of our projects, is that we started it before we really had everything lined up. We started dumping veggie peels and stuff into a five-gallon bucket in the garage whenever we thought of it, thinking we'd get an actual bin up and going pretty soon. Of course, we didn't, so we just kept adding to this closed bucket every few days until we had a five-gallon bucket of putrid rot. It was disgusting. I wanted to chuck it and start over.

We didn't, though. The internet told me that as long as it was 100% vegetable matter, it could totally be saved. We decided on a compost method that would keep things away from the dogs and wouldn't be way too much work to maintain: we use two plastic bins that have had air holes drilled in them, only one of which is being filled at a time. We dumped the disgusting bucket-o-goo into the first bin (I'm not kidding when I say it smelled exactly like vomit) onto a layer of shredded newspaper and corn husks, and then topped it with more shredded paper and some pine needles. After a few days we mixed it all up and we've just been layering shit on top as it comes out of our kitchen. I tear up any mail that has identifying details (we don't have a working shredder) and compost that, and when it looks soggy we toss in some more pine needles.

I'm really happy to report that it no longer stinks. Whenever I open it it just smells like veggies. It'll be due for another turn soon, and I'm hoping to see it breaking down.

I am not kidding that I'm happy about compost. This post is weird.

Do you compost? Are you impressed with my superhuman ability to let nature do its thing and take the credit?


  1. I'm too lazy to actually make anything (though I keep thinking I will) so my ghetto ass puts everything into a laundry basket tucked in a corner of the yard. Hey, it's got ventilation, right?

  2. Laundry basket is a great idea! Does it have any holes in the bottom? Apparently that's how worms get in and excess liquid gets out.

  3. Yes! I took a steak knife and stabbed triangles of death into the bottom! I bought a storage bin a long time ago that has a hinge lid that I thought I'd bury halfway after drilling holes in it - that way I don't have to look at the pile of crap (and it's a black lid, so it should get nice and warm). Haven't done anything with it yet though.