Tools of the Compost Trade

14 May

Other than food scraps and lawn waste, what do you need to compost?

Obviously, a compost bin.  You’ve got lots of bin options from barrels that roll to stacking drawers for easy sorting.  I’m sure they are great, but they have drawbacks: namely, they are pricey, small-ish, and since everything is rotting inside, usually smelly.  Yuck.Image

This is my compost bin.  Basic, right?  It’s also cheap AND green.  You can tell it’s built from leftover sod pallets and chicken wire.  It doesn’t have a lid so it doesn’t get very “hot”, but that means there is no smell.  It doesn’t have four sides either, so it’s a little messy, but we’re making dirt here, so I don’t think that’s a problem.   It’s currently a bit on the empty side since we dug out most of the good stuff for spring mulching.

Notice the pitchfork.  In addition to the bucket that holds kitchen scraps, it’s THE essential tool for cooking compost.  It’s been outside in that pile 24/7 for a few years now and it’s just fine.

Here’s my compost routine:

  • Collect bits and pieces throughout the day in my countertop bucket.
  • Carry the bucket (sometimes fragrant if it’s been a particularly onion-y day) from the kitchen to the backyard pile, admiring my newly emerging veggies, sniffing just-opened roses (which are really exquisite this year – pictures soon), and breathing in the heady fresh scent of the outdoors (see composting equals calm).
  • Tip my bucket of goodies onto the TOP of the pile, making sure that wayward egg shells and lemon halves don’t roll down and hit my feet.
  • WIth my trusty pitchfork, gather some grass clippings from the pile next to the bin (picture for another day, just imagine it, ok?) and cover the fresh scraps.
  • If I’m low on clippings or it’s windy & the grass isn’t sticking to the scraps, I poke my pitchfork into the bottom of the pile, and dredge out some chunky “dirt” and throughly cover things.  I usually hit worms (and then I cheer!  They are your compost’s BFF).  Aren’t they cute?  You want LOTS of worms.  (Keep in mind I only touch them with a pitchfork because they also kind of gross me out.)Image
  • And that’s pretty much it.  I bang out any remaining scraps from the bucket, commence with nature therapy as I walk back to the house, rinse the bucket with the outdoor hose, dump that water in my veggie boxes, and I’m done with compost chores for the day.  It’s that simple.  Those worms are doing the hard work.

Tomorrow?  Details on exactly WHAT goes in the bucket and, consequently, the bin.

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Posted by on May 14, 2013 in Compost How To


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