?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Anyone out there compost?

One of the things that I’m trying to do (within reason) is to reduce the amount of trash that I put to the curb – reduce the amount that we contribute to the rapidly filling landfill. I say "within reason" because I’m still in unpacking/purging mode and that causes some unusual spikes – usually when a bunch of cut up boxes hit recycling, but also sometimes when their contents hit the trash. We’re actually pretty good at the moment, at least in comparison to the rest of the neighborhood. We seldom put out more than the one trash barrel, and the recycling bucket isn’t usually full either, but most of the street has either multiple barrels, or a barrel and a couple of bags. But I’d like to get it down further if I can, so the next thing I’m thinking is composting the kitchen scraps.

Anyone know anything about composting? I don’t.

Here’s the thing, though. We’ve got kitchen scraps, and we’ve got leaves. Good God, we’ve got leaves. But most of the reading I’ve done talks about alternating layers of leaves with layers of lawn clippings, and lawn clippings are something we don’t have. The goal for the spring is to rototill the back yard and plant a lawn, but even so, we’ve only got about 20’x30’, and a mulching mower. So we’re not going to have lawn clippings, and all the literature I’m finding stresses a proper balance between leaves and clippings, both for proper decomposition and for minimal odor. I’m lost. I’m also not hugely keen on the idea of having to turn a pile regularly, but I suppose I could use the exercise if it truly is absolutely necessary.

I also don’t want something that’s going to be a major production. See, I’m all for being responsible if it’s a) easy, b) cheap, or c) saves me money. So switching to CFL bulbs was a no-brainer. They’re saving me money, and they were easy to find and cheap at Costco. I have to remember that someday when one burns out that I’ll need to put it in my household haz-mat box instead of the trash, but that’s no big deal. Recycling is easy – they give me a bucket and pick it up every other week. Bottle return – I’m going to the store anyhow, AND they give me money. So the hook here is that if I need to read a 3" manual, or do weeks of research, or buy exotic additives, or turn over a huge pile once a week... it’s not going to happen. We don’t generate all that much organic waste, but it would be nice to not send it to the landfill. Every little bit, you know? Also, compost would be nice to have for my gardens.

I also need to figure out what I want to do about rain barrels for this summer. I want them, but I’ve got five down spouts. I am NOT paying for (or locating) five rain barrels, and I’m not redoing the gutters this year. I’ve got to pick the one or two that drain the largest expanse of roof, and pick out the barrel I want. Maybe my husband the engineer would be good enough to figure that out for me. I’m hoping I can find something I like at Agway or some such, because I really don’t want to pay to have something the size of a rain barrel shipped to me.

Doctor appointment this afternoon. While I’m there, I’ll ask her if I should be worried about the fact that it’s been two months since the second cold and I’m still coughing. People are beginning to say "Are you still coughing? Have you seen a doctor?" So even if it’s just a matter of "it’ll go away eventually" at least I’ll be able to say that I’ve seen a doctor and make them stop nagging.

 

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
msmemory
Jan. 22nd, 2008 07:20 pm (UTC)
I think you want to talk to helwen, (Elwynne of Bergental).

Edited at 2008-01-22 07:23 pm (UTC)
kls_eloise
Jan. 22nd, 2008 07:30 pm (UTC)
Is that so? I'll ping her - or chat her up at Birka if they're there. Thanks!
vynehorn
Jan. 22nd, 2008 07:53 pm (UTC)
She isn't going to be there - I just read it today.
kls_eloise
Jan. 22nd, 2008 09:48 pm (UTC)
Darn - that would have been too easy.
golden_meliades
Jan. 22nd, 2008 07:34 pm (UTC)
You'll like this: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/deptmpl.asp?url=/content/dep/Composting/easy.asp

It really is just as easy as throwing together all your organic (NO ANIMAL MATTER) products and stirring them occasionally. We have a compost heap the size of a small mountain out behind the greenhouses as we compost all the leftover plants through the year.
kls_eloise
Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:08 am (UTC)
You're right - I DO like that. Heck, *I* can do that! And since it can be shaded, we've got plenty of room.

Yet another thing that I've been making over complicated...
galingale
Jan. 23rd, 2008 03:38 am (UTC)
We compost outside *AND* we compost in the kitchen.

The kitchen? YUP. Run a search on "Worms eat my garbage" ... I can loan you the book if you're curious, it's easier to do with small scraps in winter months. One rubbermaid tub, some screening, and a drill, and you've got a worm bin. Double bonus for you the best kind of worms for indoor composting is red wrigglers -- yup, bait.

Outdoors is Rob's domain, but basically it's a big heap and he moves it around in arcane ways... he can tell you more...
(Anonymous)
Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:01 pm (UTC)
composting leaves without grass
Robert here - Mary mentioned I handle the outside compost & suggested I comment. The grass clippings (and the lime for that matter) speed composting bot it will work (slower) without them. Personally I think the lime is worthwhile, it keeps the resulting compost from being too acidic (unless you plan to use it only for rhododendrons and holly, in which case acidic is great).

So here is the "slow lazy" way - in my 3' diameter plastic ring I alternate 4"-6" loosely packed leaves, loose dirt sprinkled until the leaves are mostly covered, 1-2 cups lime sprinkled. Water it once a month. Use it in 1-2 years. It will go faster and be finer if you shovel it from one ring to another twice a year.

One down side - without the grass it won't get hot, so this won't kill weed seeds, but if all you've got is leaves that's not an issue.

It will also go faster if you periodically put in a handful of worms.

We'll give you a starter batch of worms if you'd like to start a worm bin. there is no smell and it's very easy to manage (keep your scrap bin in the freezer and once a week put the scraps and a double handful of shredded paper, twice a year take out the nice dirt for your plants)

Wow, what a long winded comment, hope you get through it all!
Robert
(Anonymous)
Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:20 pm (UTC)
composting leaves without grass
Robert here - Mary mentioned I handle the outside compost & suggested I comment. The grass clippings (and the lime for that matter) speed composting bot it will work (slower) without them. Personally I think the lime is worthwhile, it keeps the resulting compost from being too acidic (unless you plan to use it only for rhododendrons and holly, in which case acidic is great).

So here is the "slow lazy" way - in my 3' diameter plastic ring I alternate 4"-6" loosely packed leaves, loose dirt sprinkled until the leaves are mostly covered, 1-2 cups lime sprinkled. Water it once a month. Use it in 1-2 years. It will go faster and be finer if you shovel it from one ring to another twice a year.

One down side - without the grass it won't get hot, so this won't kill weed seeds, but if all you've got is leaves that's not an issue.

It will also go faster if you periodically put in a handful of worms.

We'll give you a starter batch of worms if you'd like to start a worm bin. there is no smell and it's very easy to manage (keep your scrap bin in the freezer and once a week put the scraps and a double handful of shredded paper, twice a year take out the nice dirt for your plants)

Wow, what a long winded comment, hope you get through it all!
Robert
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )