September 24, 2012

Amazing Things About Kitchen Composting

In the very back corner of our yard is 'Compost Central'.  Its not even noticeable unless you walk all the way back to it.  For years it was just your average outdoor collection of leaves, grass, sawdust and wood chips…yeah, kind of boring. Somewhere along the way the tomatoes and vegetables we were growing got tossed in when they got overripe on the vine or had been munched on by various critters. A light bulb went off and I was asking myself 'what about tossing in the overripe things in the fridge…?'. Yes - I researched it. Turns out half the contents of our fridge qualified as compost. Our first kitchen compost pail was a bright orange  plastic, five gallon, lidded bucket (advertising a very familiar big-box store).

 The first thing I went through was the fridge… I had never had so much fun cleaning out our refrigerator! Next I tackled the food pantry. Turns out half the cereal was expired and could go in the bin. The old pasta, stale cookies, flour.  It all went in the pail and I didn't have that guilty-of-wasting-food moment. Being able to throw coffee grounds and the filter in every morning instead of. We found out fast that this practice of kitchen composting was cutting out half the garbage we were bagging up and hauling outside. Not wasting anything and cutting garbage in half! The kitchen compost being dumped to the main compost pile kind of completed the cycle…for a while. We had fabulous, rich, wormy, compost to to add to he gardens.

Brown Gold

 With every harvest we can tell by taste of the food we grow and the look that this compost, as someone else described it, brown gold. No buying fertilizers or soil additives. Free brown gold and less garbage to haul out!

From A Simple DIY Style
Any Color
Stainless Steel

Our original kitchen compost pail has been replace by a nice one gallon, stainless steel, lidded pail -designed just right for the job. The five gallon plastic one sits outside and handles any overflow that can't be taken directly to the compost pile. 

Now that we have chickens the dynamics have changed completely. The chickens eat a lot of the leftovers from the gardens. That gets distributed back into their bedding in the form of chicken poop and that gets cleaned out and hauled to the compost. Which gets turn and moved and turned till it's ready to go into the gardens again. The recycle cycle coming full circle

Things you CAN compost
  • Vegetable and fruit wastes, even moldy and ugly rinds, cores and pits.
  • Old bread, donuts, cookies, crackers, pizza crust, noodles: anything made out of flour!
  • Grains (cooked or uncooked): rice, barley, oats, etc.
  • Coffee grounds, tea bags, filters - yes even the filters!
  • Fruit or vegetable pulp from juicing.
  • Old herbs and spices.
  • Outdated boxed foods from the pantry, cereal - (this was my favorite to take care of)!
  • Egg shells  - just crush them first they break down faster - (soon we will have a lot more egg shells to add back)!
  • Corn cobs and husks - but cobs breakdown slowly.
  • Newspapers except for the slicks or tabloid style, the inks can cause problems to your compost pile.
  • Small amounts of paper added a little at a time is better than large amounts.  It doesn’t break down quickly enough if you add to much.

Things you CAN NOT compost:
  • Meat or meat waste, such as bones, fat, gristle, skin, etc.
  • Fish or fish waste
  • Dairy products, such as cheese, butter, cottage cheese, yogurt, cream cheese, sour cream, etc.
  • Grease and oils of any kind

Most of these are not acceptable because they break down to slowly, attract rodents and cause your compost to smell.

No matter what your compost consists of you have to get out there and turn it so it will break down faster!


1 comment:

  1. Fish and fish waste are awesome for the home garden. You are right that fish (cooked, fried) should not go in the compost but they are great fertilizer when buried around tomato plants. Think fish emulsion.


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