Saturday, January 24, 2009


I heard a program on NPR this morning about compost, so I thought I would throw out my experiences with composting. We have not, for the record, set up our composter at the new house, although we have the bin that ben built sitting in the back of the yard eagerly awaiting it's inaugural usage. But, here are the few things I learned from some book I got from the Somerville library back in the day (I feel like it was called the "little book of compost" or something like that).

If you want a hot compost pile (which literally gets hot... it even steams sometimes!):
1. Layer what they call "greens" and "browns." Greens are things like: grass clippings, vegetable scraps. Browns are things like: dry leaves, shredded newspaper, small branches. Other random goodies that are awesome for compost are used coffee or tea, rinsed out eggshells, you can even put the junk from your vacuum cleaner out there!
2. Always avoid meat products and dairy products, as these rot and attract rodents.
3. To speed up the process, throw a few handfulls of soil in between layers of greens and browns.
4. Mix it up every few weeks, and your compost will be ready in about three months

If you want a slow compost pile
Throw whatever stuff you want in a pile (it can be all greens, all browns, whatever, but not meat or dairy, see above), and let time take care of the rest... as the name suggests, this takes longer (think: a year or more), but if you have a lot of one thing to get rid of and the space to do it, why not?

For all compost, you want to maximize bug's access to the stuff, because they are the miracle workers in this process. That means that you want the container or pile to be open to the ground, and if you're really hard core, you can even have a box of worms inside your house that you feed kitchen scraps (and they make the compost). I have no experience with this, so won't even go there, but would love to talk to someone who has done this. Happy composting!


Brad said...

Emily and I started an indoor worm bin around Thanksgiving. It's hard to tell how well it's working so far -- it takes a few months -- but it's definitely fun to feed them and watch things disappear overnight.

This is the best resource I've found.

Adele Paz Collins said...

Nice! So where did you get your worms? And what, exactly, do you feed them?