Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Lazy Composter

I am an enthusiastic composter. I compost everything possible—all year—which, in Minnesota is no mean feat. I schlep my veggie leavings and spent bouquets to the compost pile when it’s 95 and when it’s 25 below. I compost egg shells and banana peels, things a lot of composters shy away from because they take a long time to decompose. I fret that I don’t have more space for composting because I see all the coffee grounds in shops and at work just going to the garbage when they could be going to someone’s garden. I keep my green to brown ratio about right most of the time by keeping a bag or two of leaves nearby.

But, I am also a lazy composter. I water when I can, which is easier in the winter because I can scoop snow in there. In the growing season, though, the hose doesn’t go all the way back there, so I try to haul a 5 gallon bucket out there once in a while, but I don't always remember to do it. And, I never, and I really do mean never, turn my compost pile.

People will tell you it’s super important to turn your compost because it gets all the microbes working and mixes your brown/green ratio and hastens decomposition, which is pretty much what compost is about. But, I’ve never done it. At the St Paul house, I had a great compost area and could get to the good stuff pretty easily by shoving the new stuff to one side and then to the other. But, here in the city, I have a black plastic bin with a lid on the top and a “door” at the bottom, which makes getting to the good stuff darned near impossible.

I’m telling you this because one of the things I plan to do on my summer vacation is turn the compost. I have to. I want the good stuff, and the only way I can get to it is take the new stuff out (on a tarp) until the good stuff appears. Then, I’ll shovel the good stuff into the wheelbarrow and haul it around the gardens. When it’s gone, I’ll put the new stuff back in and toss some leaves on top. In a couple more years, I’ll probably “rinse and repeat.” But, that’s a long way off.

1 comment:

Dayna said...

I suggest getting another compost bin, so you can move things back and forth. When one gets filled, you shovel the into the other, until you get to the good stuff, which you remove and use. That way, the newest additions are on the bottom of the second bin, which compresses it, speeding decomp. Keep one bin half empty at all times, leaving room to move things about. I had a 2-sided bin once that worked well witht his method.

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