Thursday, May 8, 2008

Composting Commences

So, I finally got my composter put together! Many thanks to the helpful folks at Glover Park Hardware and Achla, who took pity on me after I confessed that the assembly directions, uh, composted, and the bolts and screws that came with the composter? Migrated. Now that I've assembled it (I am woman, hear me roar) I have been gleefully saving our kitchen scraps and tossing them into the tumbler, and I've collected some leaves from the fall (good strategy to leave them around the back patio, eh?) and some dryer lint. We sure have plenty of that. I seem to have an excess of green stuff (nitrogen rich materials) though and not enough brown stuff (leaves). There is some kind of crazy web of white mold or who knows what organism growing in there. But it doesn't smell (good sign! no anaerobic bad organisms pleeease) and it's a huge barrel made of recycled plastic so we won't be nourishing any local rodents.

Lucky for me, it's International Composting Week (thanks, Chewswise!) and local President of DC Urban Gardeners and Slow Cook blogger Ed Bruske has an amazing video series he put together on composting basics. I slapped the first video up below to get you started. I am so thrilled that CBoy is taking a rockin' nap because I just got a whole bunch of ideas about how to help my compost balance (I can compost shredded junk mail/newspapers and cardboard boxes to keep the brown factor up) from watching the whole series. What can I say...Ed's soothing chitter chat about compost was kind of addicting. Ed notes that 25% of the stuff we send to the landfill is food waste from our kitchens. So composting is a great step. Next up? He's convinced me that I may actually have space for worms (my kids are gonna love this). Vermicomposter for Mother's Day, anyone?!

Happy Composting, readers! (And for those of you who are all, this is way too much effort -- first, it's not so much work, and second? If you have indoor space go worms!) I know the soil in *my* community garden needs some black gold...may it not be too late for my languishing peas and arugula! If you have any tips for a neophyte composter (that don't involve any land space - I can't compost in a corner of my yard like my parents used to) or any great worm facts, let me know!



*Photo courtesy of sxc (which, fyi, is a great source for free photos) and Bomania.

8 comments:

amy t sharp said...

yay! I want a composter!!! Got my coupons thanks babe!
Check this site out...http://wormlady.com/?page_id=10
We do vermicomposting here! Fun and easy!

De in D.C. said...

I started a worm bin in the basement last fall. It was fabulous for about 4 months, then I got an insect infestation (fruit flies, fungus gnats, and something else I can't identify). I moved it outside in April when I couldn't handle the insects anymore. I need to read up on why I'm getting infested and what I can do about it. My worms also don't seem to like to eat vegetable scraps (isn't that kind of the point?). Peelings and other waste will remain untouched for weeks on end. Instead, I've had to replace the newspaper bedding 3 times, and it's one big soggy mat. I need a Worm Help 101 course.

MamaBird said...

Amy - thanks for the wormlady tip, I will check her out. I am planning on making a DIY worm bin if you have any ideas there.

De - maybe check out the wormlady link? Also, I will ask my SIL who is a master gardener and a worm lady herself if she has any tips for you. And, uh, yeah, the whole point for me is to have *someone* eat the kitchen scraps! If I end up with picky toddleresque worms that would truly be hilarious. Will try to get some info for you!

MamaBird said...

for de in dc from my SIL:

when I started my vermicomposter I bought some red worms specific for the job. they reproduce so prolifically I haven't had to replenish them since, almost 10 years ago. as for the fruit flies they are part of the deal along with a whole host of other creepy crawlees if you let it go. our composter is outside so I just let the flies do their thing but when it was in the house I kept the composting veggies covered with damp shredded paper. it was supposed to deter the flies from accessing the compost and worked for the most part but it definitely added a pretty significant step to the whole easy 1.2.3 dump your veggie scraps in the backyard and be done with it. hope this helps.

green your apartment said...

I really need to follow suit!

So when are you going to craft a guest post for me? :-)

MamaBird said...

no time like the present! will email you later today...

Tech Savvy Mama said...

Great minds think alike! I"ve been adding to our outside compost bin (free from MoCo!) for a couple of weeks now. Dryer lint?!? Really?!? I never have a shortage of that around here with the amount of laundry in our house! I'm not sure if I will step it up with the addition of worms but will let you know if I do.

De in D.C. said...

Tell your SIL thanks for me. I'm going to keep the bin outside during the summer, but will definitely try the shredded paper trick when I bring it back indoors next fall.