Archive for April, 2010

Composting isn’t what it used to be.

When I think of composting, I remember my grandma having a small bucket in the kitchen she would throw scraps into. When that got full, she would bring it outside to the compost pile and mix it in. A year later, she could then use that compost in her garden.

Composting doesn't have to look like this!

I always thought that it was a bit gross to have a pile of decaying produce just sitting in the yard, especially when you want to have friends over for a BBQ. There has had to be a better way.

What I didn’t know then was there are different composting methods, and you don’t have to keep a pile in the back yard. Some of them can even be done in your kitchen, with no smell and no fuss. In the next few months, we’ll delve into the different ways to compost, helping you to not only generate nutritious food for your garden, but also reduce your carbon footprint.

Up to 30% of household waste is organic material that could be composted and used as a natural fertilizer for your landscaping or houseplants. Even if you do not have a yard, you can put your compost to good use in your friends’ garden or the tree down the street. When you don’t compost your kitchen scraps, they head over to the local landfill, where they break down anaerobically and create methane, a greenhouse gas 20+ times more potent than carbon dioxide.

If you’re not thrilled at the idea of collecting your food scraps in a spare Tupperware container, don’t worry! You can use a variety of countertop or under-the-sink bins which not only look nice but also filter out any smell that might accumulate until you get around to tossing those scraps in your compost bin. But which composting technique is right for you?

In the next few months, we will describe different methods of composting, the advantages and pitfalls of each, and what you can, and cannot, compost. We will talk about methods you can use year-round, such as Bokashi and Vermicomposting, as well as more traditional outside bins and tumblers..

Kitchen scraps are a 'green' compost addition

First, we will start off with an more unusual method, due to the season. Traditional compost bins require a mixture of about 60% high carbon (brown) material, generally leaves or straw, and 40% high-nitrogen (green) material, primarily food scraps. Because most people don’t think about starting to compost in the autumn, they haven’t saved their bagged leaves, and the compost pile suffers from a shortage of high-carbon, ‘brown’ material. A high-nitrogen ‘green’ pile is a sure path to frustration and bad smell. Therefore, we’ll start our series with methods you can jump into right now, without having to worry about a lack of leaves.

The first type of composting we’ll delve into is Bokashi, which is fast, easy, and can even compost items meat and dairy products. Check back soon for an update on how to compost year-round with Bokashi.

– by Brandon Varner.