Goal #5: Compost to My Heart’s Content

Compost is nature’s poop. And that makes my apple peels a bean burrito to the environment.

Pile 1 = recent clippings and scraps. Pile 2 = rich composty goodness.

Compost is awesome. Its contents include 3 things to make it happen:

1. carbon-rich materials like dried leaves, newspaper, cardboard, coffee filters, and straw.

2. nitrogen-rich materials like egg shells, grass clippings, food scraps, and ground coffee.

3. Lots of water and oxygen!

It’s soo earthy…

The look of a compost pile varies: store-bought bins, DIY enclosures/bins, indoor vermicomposting, or my favorite and therefore the laziest option: a pile in the corner of the yard. I prefer to dump all my scraps in a pile and turn it once a week, pouring about five 5-gallon buckets worth of water on the pile.

My kitchen composting bin. Very handy.

Composting is really a science: I’m not great at scientific chit chat. That’s what links are for!  Basically, if you put food scraps together, they’ll decompose. If you don’t want raccoons, avoid dairy and meat products. The vermicompost lady says that onions, garlic and citrus are natural pesticides, so unfortunately those scraps will ward away the “good bugs” which help the food break down, though I go through limes like crazy and there are plenty of bugs hanging around my pile o’ nature poo.

Katy posing with the compost.

Be aware that onions are toxic to dogs and if Fido suddenly acquires an illness mixed with onion breath, you’ll know the culprit. Katy the greyhound sniffs around the compost all the time– it may be a good idea for me to (COUGH getthehusbandto) build a chicken wire fence around the piles.

You know you LOVE photos, so the rest of this post will be fancifully filled with them in a tutorial of how I got rid of my waste not by throwing it away or recycling, but by COMPOSTING!

Step 1: shred newspaper, egg cartons, cardboard, etc & put into a bucket.

Step 2: Add water.

Step 3: make sure the dog helps. This step is VERY important.

Step 3: make sure the dog helps. This step is VERY important.

Step 4: Make a carbon slurry with your hands!

Step 5: dump onto your compost pile. Not to be confused with taking a dump on your compost pile.

Step 6: Turn the pile with a pitchfork (I’m a post-college student so I just have a shovel) and mix that carbon goodness with the earthy heap.

Step 7: play with the worms. This step is also very important.

The best friends my avocado peels could ask for.

Side note: when I made my dog poop hole (more on this later), much of the dirt left over from the dig was thrown onto my compost. There were maybe about 30 worms or so in the soil. Fast forward 2 months later and every time I pull out a shovel’s worth of compost from the pile, I see worms squiggling everywhere. There must be well over a thousand worms in this pile. And what do worms do? They make tunnels that allow oxygen through and the organic matter they eat is pooped out and makes the material rich and really good for using in a garden.

Step 8: wash your feet!

The verdict on composting? Do it! After transferring 80% of food waste to the heap outside, we drastically cut down our waste and swapped out our 15 gallon trash can for a bathroom-sized wastebasket which gets emptied every week. There is a sense of freedom when we realize we don’t have to produce waste like the world says we should. We can live our lives according to what is right and just. We can assess our values– do we value convenience over quality meals? If more time is spent in the kitchen, do we have less time to spend with our children? Can we find a way to support all of our values, or do we need a values veto?

Composting is just a small part of a huge shift in the way the world would like us to think. No, we don’t have to depend on Wal-Mart for everything from toothpaste to gardening supplies. Yes, we can do it ourselves. No, our version of the American Dream is not the same as our neighbor. Yes, one person can make a difference.


About bornagaingreen

I love to interact with people who are excited about their passions! Decreasing my impact on the planet and increasing my family's health are high on my values list, along with minimizing distractions from a meaningful life. Share your story with me! Let's move forward and give a voice to our values and passions, one interaction (or lots!) at a time.
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3 Responses to Goal #5: Compost to My Heart’s Content

  1. Caitlin says:

    I have a small bin in my kitchen with worms (I freeze my scraps and put some in every week or so to not overwhelm my wormies), but I’m going to start a compost heap at my mom’s house. She says I can plant a garden too, if I take care of it. Our biggest gardening project will be building raised beds! So excited to be a dirty hippie.

  2. Healthy Happy Whole Hedonism says:

    Ugh. I want to compost so bad. It seriously pains me to see all the veggie waste that I dump in the trash bin. Your pile looks beautiful though! And so does your dog!

    • That’s totally what I kept saying when I’d see people compost: “Ugh, I want to compost too!” So what are your challenges? Lack of space? Unwilling family members? Motivation? If my dog could talk, she’d be the first one to tell you she’s beautiful. She’s a total diva. Thanks for the comment!

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