Thursday, October 1, 2009

Our Compost Pile

Before nap time, the boys and I were reading the book Duck for President by Doreen Cronin, when Mr. Smackdown asked,

"Does Farmer Brown have a compost pile?"

It was then I thought to myself, you know you have a compost pile when your 5 year old asks if Farmer Brown has a compost pile because he sees a pitch fork.

Meet our compost pitch fork that is used for "turning" our scraps into dirt.

I don't claim to be an expert on composting. All I know is what my friend, Larra, taught me.

Throw your food scraps (egg shells, vegetables, and fruits) into a pile and throw some leaves over the raw scraps. Don't add large fruit pits, like peaches or avocados. They take too long to decompose. Never put meat or milk products in the compost pile because those attract animals.

Rather than go out to the compost pile daily, I have this spiffy jar that houses any compost worthy material. I keep it near where I prepare our meals. And no, it doesn't smell. Neither does it attract fruit flies any more than my fresh fruit that is waiting to be eaten. I typically have my fresh fruit near the compost jar, which is near my fruit fly trap. Problem solved.

And that is what we have done for three years.

We make dirt. Well, we help the process that God put into place.

In the beginning, we were faithful to turn our compost. The more frequently you turn your compost, which means to move it around, the quicker the food turns into dirt, basically the quicker it decays. Those tiny "things" that break down matter (which is why the woods always smells so good) need oxygen. They get oxygen when you move the compost around.

We have three compost bins made out of chicken wire, and some stakes to stabilize the chicken wire walls. One bin is "closed," which means that we have stopped feeding it. Another bin I typically only add brown leaf matter to--no kitchen scraps. And then we have an active bin, which is the one you see Mr. Me-Too dumping the scraps into.

It is colorful. It is actually fun. You can get a pretty good workout in when you turn the dirt.

It is better for my garden, because the compost once finished, provides rich, nutrient dense dirt. By composting, we help the environment by contributing LESS to the landfill. Additionally, it is cheaper to compost than buy new dirt for our garden every year.

If you don't compost or think that you can't, consider looking into container composting.

And if you want me to recommend any resources . . . well, I have none to recommend. I learned by word of mouth, not by reading.

Oh, and we don't have an animal problem or a bug problem. Our compost actually smells good. I wouldn't want to wear the smell as perfume, but it smells like a hike in the woods.


Hi! My name is Janet. said...

how often do you rotate through the 3 piles?

Prasti said...

do you live in an area where it snows? if so, how do you compost in the winter?

Annie said...

Thank you for explaining this! We are new to country living and want to have a garden next year. Now I want a compost pile to! I didn't know that a compost pile actually created dirt. How neat!

Evolving Mommy Catherine said...

I wish I had room in my tiny yard for a compost pile, but alas I have filled every last available spot with garden. I hope that maybe some day I will have a yard that can accommodate both, but seeing your piles makes me feel a little impatient for that time to come!

Baby Signs(R) With Elizabeth ICI, INC. said...

We just started composting our food scraps a month or two ago and I'm hoping to use the nutrient rich dirt to start my very first vegetable garden this year!

Lynette said...

Yay for composting! We have backyard chickens, so they get most of our kitchen scraps that would otherwise go into the compost pile. We don't have the traditional compost pile, but we do get fresh eggs (and chicken manure!)