Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Break it down now

One of my favorite housewarming gifts is one that came from Taylor's parents: an Earth Machine. In other words, a composting receptacle!

Composting is a fantastic way to produce hearty, nutrient-rich soil at home. And it's easy, too. We collect scraps from the kitchen and take it out to our composting bin every few days. We dump it inside, cover it with some dry yard waste (grass clippings, leaves, etc.), and we're good to go! The important thing is to make sure that air is getting into the pile so that aerobic microbes can break down the organic matter. Without enough air, the bin will smell like, well, a rotting pile of hot garbage.

It's also important to put the right stuff into the bin. We tend to fill our compost with vegetable scraps, fruit peels, eggshells, and coffee grounds. To avoid attracting flies, we thoroughly cover it with leaves, dead weeds, and yard clippings. But you can't just throw all of your kitchen scraps into the bin. Avoid putting any meat, dairy, fat, or bones into the pile, as these materials break down very slowly and may attract neighborhood pests. Also keep any diseased or chemically-treated plants, pet waste, and pernicious weeds out of your compost. Remember, the things you put in your bin will ultimately go back onto your plants in your yard, which can be especially harmful in a vegetable garden that you're eating from.

Why compost? From a financial perspective, it reduces the cost of purchasing topsoil and fertilizer for your plants. Why buy a big bag of dirt when you can make it yourself? Chances are, your composted material will be a lot richer and healthier than anything you buy in a store because you know exactly what's going into it. Because we're just getting started, we won't be able to use our compost until next growing season, but we know it will be worth the wait.

From an environmental perspective, you will significantly reduce your household waste. Between our recycling bin and our composting container, Taylor and I have put out only one bag of trash for the weekly collection, compared to two and even three bags a week.

Your composting bin will even encourage you to eat healthier. I don't know what it is, but there is something very rewarding about filling up our compost bin every week. To do that, I have to buy (and consume) more fresh fruits and veggies, which is ultimately better for my health and well-being anyway!

So you can see how positive of an impact one little composting bin can have on your wallet, your world, and your waistline. I encourage you to give it a shot!

1 comment:

  1. I love the idea of having a compost! You have compelled me to look into investing in one!