When I was first thinking about composting, there were days when I realized I didn’t have much to contribute to my then-imaginary pile. What’s the point of saving every little food scrap? Fast forward a dozen years and that’s almost the way I looked at this bucket. What’s the point, right? Why bother, especially when I am making a conscious effort to use every bit of plant that is edible that my family likes?
This was a linguine & clam sauce kind of day, with smoothies from frozen summer fruits, and PB&J for lunch. I didn’t even want to take a picture of such a tiny little bucket of scraps. My guilty inner Mom voice whispers, “You’re not feeding your family enough produce …” My snarky, insecure inner voice adds, “You can’t take a picture of that bucket, because everyone will see that you are not feeding your family enough fruits and veggies…”
Well, a winter compost spot check is just a short walk to the backyard pile, I can see that we actually are eating enough produce and that every little scrap really adds up. This compost bin was essentially empty at the beginning of the fall and now, after adding scraps each day, Mother Nature is baking up a nice batch of rich compost for our spring gardens.
Here is another look after I’ve covered the fresh scraps with leaves from the pile we keep next to the bin all fall and winter. This helps insure a good carbon to nitrogen ratio and help everything decompose more quickly.
Speaking of carbon/nitrogen ratios, here’s a little info from my go-to book The Complete Compost Gardening Guide that might prove helpful.
Ratios of Common Compost Ingredients
Compost progresses faster when you combine materials with low carbon/nitrogen(C/N) ratios with others that have higher numbers
- kitchen waste 15/1 carbon/nitrogen ratio
- horse manure 30/1
- leaves 55/1
- sawdust 440/1
- cardboard 500/1
Our past experience has shown that a healthy mix of kitchen scraps mixed with a near equal mix of yard scraps yields a quickly decomposing blend that is complete from season to season. Another way to look at this is that spring/summer scraps provide compost for the winter garden, while fall/winter scraps provide food for the spring garden. Naturally, you can speed up this process, but in our house, we love the laid back approach of Easy, Lazy No Turn Compost.
Now, don’t toss that banana peel!