All right, let’s make this really easy. I promised to make composting simple as dirt. I want you to devise a home composting program. I know it sounds all technical, but the reality is that it’s extremely simple to do. If you don’t compost, you’re a bad person–no, I’m kidding! However, you are missing out on the many benefits such a minimized amount of trash in the house, great gardening soil and another thing you can make the kids do if you don’t feel like it. I’m going to break down the different types of composting for you to get an idea of which one works best for you.
Dig a Hole in Your Backyard. Or Your Neighbor’s
Depending on how your living situation is laid out geographically, you need to find a place to dig a hole for your scraps. I used to live in a tiny house town with an even tinier backyard, but I manage to keep a 2′ hole chugging along just fine. Maybe you live in an apartment complex, and your neighbor has a small plot of dirt…so ask them if you’d like to compost together. Fun for everyone.
I prefer throwing food scraps in a hole because…
a) it’s the cheapest option at zero dollars, and
b) because those compost turners aren’t very awesome in my opinion.
Yes, maybe there’s a model out there that works, but none that I’ve seen.
So Many Compost Tumblers to Choose From…
Although I just bashed compost tumblers, I’ll suggest one that may work even though I don’t use it myself. Look for a tumbler that rotates end over end, as opposed to spinning horizontally. This is because the material will get mixed better if the whole barrel is flipping around. If it spins horizontal, all the material in the center just kinda sits there.
As I said that, I realized that in a vertical compost tumbler, material may sit in the center. However, I don’t think this is nearly as likely and since it takes more effort to turn it, it must be moving around more on the inside.
Anyway, if you live somewhere that wild animals like to dig food scraps out of your backyard, a compost tumbler will keep your material safely away. I have cats that sometimes hang out in my compost pile, but I like cats so who cares? I mean if they’re THAT hungry… as long as they go somewhere else to have kittens, we’ll all be good.
I’ve seen squirrels eating some fresh scraps that I threw in the pile, but I think that’s cool that I feed the squirrels anyway. Notice I didn’t mention about the smell yet…I’ve personally never noticed a smell with composting, so using a tumbler to contain the smell is a moot point for me. If you keep the ratio right, you have nothing to worry about.
Want to see what these contraptions look like? They DO work, I just have TOO much compost, I’d need like ten to process all my junk. I do slow compost.
While I’m at it, I should mention how to compost. And there are a number of articles on composting that go more into detail. This is just to kick you off your butt and get you to START composting on some level! It’s pretty simple. Keep a good mix of leaves, twigs and grass clippings for your pile: This is your carbon. As you add new food scraps/green stuff (nitrogen), always add more carbon material. Want learn more about carbon ratios?
Keep the pile in good shape by turning it over each day. This may sound frustrating, but remember that if you’re adding food scraps to the pile every night, then you’re already going out there to begin with. You want your pile to be relatively moist looking, although you don’t have to water it. When you start to see worms in there, that’s a good sign. One more thing, I forgot to mention that you should get a little Tupperware container for the kitchen to hold your food scraps. Food, coffee grinds (worms love this), laundry lint, it’s all good. So get out there and get composting.
Hopefully I made composting seem pretty straightforward for you…that’s because it is. It’s not smelly, dirty or weird; it’s what needs to be done to reduce our garbage and provide ourselves with excellent gardening soil. Even if you don’t garden, you probably know someone that does. Give them the gift of compost and get something else in return.
Of course, I can get really in depth about composting as there is an art to it. Remember, it doesn’t need to be that way. I’m just being nerdy. On the most basic level, you can keep your kitchen smelling better, have less wet mess in the bottom of your trash can, lighter bags of garbage and fantastic fertilizer. So get into it…I dare you to not enjoy it.