Any Composters Out There?As far back as I can remember, I always attempted to implement as many environmentally-friendly practices as I could. Yes, I know. Let's not talk about my mode of transportation. My eyes are locked on a Prius. I've recycled my aluminum cans and paper for ages. I've also attempted to reduce and reuse routine items, too. When we hit the local Dominick's and Trader Joe's, we ask for paper, not plastic. We've also used swirly bulbs for years.
Two years ago, when we purchased our house in Elmhurst, I bought an electric mower. It's chargeable and doesn't need a cord when mowing. Carbon footprint lowered. Last spring, we bought a share in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). We received fresh vegetables each week delivered from a farm outside Rockford. Carbon footprint reduced again. Even though we make the most of our vegetables each week, we did notice a lot of waste from food preparation. Standard kitchen stuff. Susan decided we should try composting.
The time has come to start. Does anyone have experience with composting? I've been reading a number of sources online and in stores, but I have noticed differences in opinions. We have started collecting, but any helpful hints or recommended sources would be greatly appreciated.
We've moved 3 times in the last 7 years and I don't have my composting worked out in this house yet. Annoys the hell out of me. I hate throwing away stuff that I could be adding to my soil and garden!
For 10 years I used one of those slatted cubes (about 3'X3') made from recycled plastic that worked well for my kitchen composting. It had a lid on the top and two access doors at the base for the finished compost. I've always been interested in the tumblers but I never thought they'd be large enough, since we have tended to entertain a lot through the years.
Be sure to add soil to the mix - also leaves, shredded newspaper or brown paper bags - since kitchen garbage tends to be so moist and nitrogen rich. A compost accelerator can also be helpful. Layer and "stir". I use a digging fork to stir. Had one of those compost "stirrers" but the little wings froze up quickly and made it hard to get the pole into the pile.
The pile needs a balance of moist/dry and carbon/nitrogen. A kitchen pile tends to be nitrogen rich (anything green/kitchen scraps) and will get very moist and smelly if you don't add enough carbon (dry leaves, shredded paper). At times, if you add any woody garden clippings, it will get dry, so you may need to water it from time to time.
Like anything, it takes awhile to get the hang of it but when you pull your shovel out of the bottom of the pile with the rich, black, sweet smelling compost it will be so worth it. Your plants will be so happy!
Sorry for the novel. You have touched on one of my passions. pegi Monday, April 7, 2008
Angi, I started gardening when I had an 18 month old and 3 month old! It was my therapy when the kids took their naps, and they loved being in the garden, picking snap peas and strawberries and eating them in the garden. We had no dogs then. I don't know how you have a garden with dogs. Our big old mutt eats tomatoes, strawberries, blackberries, whatever - right off the plants. Then tromps through it all. Bummer. pegi Monday, April 7, 2008