The Importance of Covering Food Scraps

 

bin temp 1
When I went out to the compost pile this past weekend, I noticed that I needed more cover material… how?

It just started getting warmer out, and I noticed that the top of my pile had a lot of bugs flying around… when a pile is covered properly, this won’t happen.

I had been uncovering/depositing without adding new brown material, and since I got lazy this is what happened.

You can see halfway above the compost thermometer that there’s a section of greenish material/hay and then a solid blanket of leaves on top.

I get so happy when I shred a bag of leaves…it gives me several inches of fresh cover, which looks like this:

fresh cover

You’re looking at the solution to most composting issues.

Ample (shredded & dampened) leaf cover on top will:

-Negate any odors
-Kickstart your pile by providing enough carbon for your food scraps
-Insulate the pile (especially in winter, of course)
-Avoid attracting pests, neighbors or pesty neighbors

When making weekly food scrap deposits, dig a hole in the center by pulling back the cover material, dump and cover it up.

Have fun!

The Worms Say Hi

worm inn mega wormsI just cleared out the remainder of my produce in the fridge and made a kale/carrot/apple/ginger/cucumber/spirulina/cardboard smoothie.

Over the last few months, I’ve refined what I give the worms to mostly juicer waste and a fair bit of dampened cardboard as a cover material.

I’ve definitely seen them become more plump and/or healthy looking in general.

I got worried for a bit when I was focusing on my compost toilet efforts a bit obsessively through the winter to ensure my pile cooked through the near zero degree temperatures.

Now that the pile is killing off every pathogen in sight by maintaining a constant 120-130F, I can give the worms their deserved attention.

Since I neglected them, I’m just keeping it simple with juicer waste… I feel like it definitely revitalized the population.

Beforehand, I was throwing all kinds of crap at them such as wax paper and other paper products that most likely had a plastic liner embedded in them.

Of course, the worms didn’t like that junk and hunkered down far away from the stuff and didn’t appear healthy.

Material size/surface area definitely matters.  Eliminating plastic content really makes them happy, too.

I’m a pretty boring eater- I’ve eaten roughly five different things in rotation all the time for as long as I can remember.

I don’t know if the worms hate me for it, but I’m keeping their diet equally boring and watching them stay healthy instead of throwing curves and feeling weird about it.

Welcome back, worms!

…and if you’re not familiar with the Worm Inn Mega, check it out here.  It’s the most forgiving, easy-to-use worm system you’ll ever find…

The #1 Composting System: A Compost Bin.

The #1 Composting System: A Compost Bin.

Of all the composting methods out there, using a compost bin is definitely the best way to go for quite a few important reasons:

Capacity- Compost bins are always at least 3′ x 3′ x 3′ in size.  Compost tumblers and worm systems often leave you running out of space for more materials, which requires some strategy.  Bins essentially eliminate this problem.

Versatility- With the right material mixture, the contents will continuously cook at high temperatures and shrink, allowing for more space.  Meat, dairy, and seafood are no concern to a compost bin, either.

Low maintenance- Each Saturday, I walk out back with my container of scraps, make an indent in the top center of the pile, dump, and cover it back up.  Add some fresh brown materials and you’re done for the week.

Cheap- Compost tumblers and worm systems are super cool (I have both as well), but they cost a bit more.  I can tie together some wood pallets or grab some wire mesh and have a perfectly good compost bin.

For more information about my favorite compost bin that I personally use, like, and trust, check the Geobin Compost Bin page.

A Tale of Two Bins (article repost)

Originally found at: https://foofycrafts.wordpress.com/2015/03/13/a-tale-of-two-bins/

Recently Hannah wrote a post on her experience with getting started composting and linked to my video.  I thought I’d repost her blog here.

If you try the bucket method and it doesn’t appear to get results, try using a larger container such as a trash can.  The bigger the vessel, the better your results will be.

Anyway, here’s her post.  Keep up the good work, Hannah!

It’s amazing how much waste we can generate in a single day. Throwing out that old toothpaste tube, wiping down the sink with a paper towel, grabbing coffee in a to-go cup, unwrapping a protein bar. Wow. That’s only the beginning! We go through the day and leave little bits and pieces of our waste everywhere. We pass myriads of trash cans. We move those cans into bigger containers until there are no larger containers so we try and bury it. Burn it. Dump it into our delicate creeks, rivers and oceans. Launch it into space?

Seems pretty hopeless.

But change does happen one step at a time. I did some research and decided on the first step. Composting. It seemed like the best way to start. Taking food scraps and other organic matter and trying to turn it into a nutrient rich substance that would be good for upcoming spring gardening projects I have planned. My first question was: “How the hell am I going to compost? I live in a tiny apartment!”. Low and behold, there were articles for that too! I did find that my apartment was at an advantage because we do have a small balcony but I also found that for apartments that don’t have balconies there are services that will pick up your urban compost for free or at a very low cost.

There is this great video about composting that teaches you how to start a compost bin with two nesting buckets and very few other resources.

Of course, everything seems easier and more magical on the internet so when I actually assembled my compost bins it took an extra five minutes for punching the holes on the sides. It was pretty fulfilling to have the two buckets ready to go.

Some extra tips! Buy some worm casings off amazon or at the hardware store, it really speeds up the process and is totally natural. Also, if at first the compost smells bad/weird don’t fret! It takes some time and patience to wait for the final product.The most important tip I found is to keep a second jar in the kitchen for food scraps so you don’t have to run to your outdoor bin every time.

Hopefully this will be ready in time for our window garden project!!

Lessons Learned: Composting is easier than we think!

Philadelphia is Close to Mandating Composting for Restaurants

http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2015/02/19/city-council-oks-measure-to-allow-restaurants-to-recycle-scraps-for-composting/

Although it’s been known for a few weeks, I wanted to bring up what’s going on here in Philadelphia.

Up to now, the City had no real incentives set up for businesses to compost, nor do they provide curbside compost collection.

In Philadelphia, all commercial establishments must pay a fee every year for their trash dumpster and recycling dumpster.  The recycling is cheaper than the trash dumpster.

The idea is to have a composting option available, which will hopefully cut back on the amount of organics being thrown in the trash.

This bill focuses on just restaurants…ideally it will expand to include coffee shops, pizza shops, and really anywhere serving food.

Done right, numerous businesses should practically be able to either recycle or compost almost all of their waste.

Let’s hope the mayor signs the bill.

The 3 or 4 compost services in Philadelphia must be getting pretty excited about this.

 

Composting Made Simple.