Category Archives: General

Home is Where the Cover Material Is

I envy the cover material at this place!

Leaves, pine needles (don’t need a lot), dead grass, etc…

I was asked to build up a fresh pile, so I added a good 12″ of base material, then added the food scraps followed by another 6″ of cover materials.

While I doubt it will start up since it’s 20 degrees out, as soon as it’s ready it’ll take off.  In the meantime, there’s a few months’ room for weekly contributions until the temperature stays above freezing for a few days.

I’m sure we’ll get our January burst of 70 degree weather for a day out of nowhere, anyway…

winter challenges

It’s starting to be consistently below freezing, and I wasn’t able to shred leaves in time before the snow.

Luckily, I still have a trash can’s worth in the yard and a bunch of food scraps…and a bunch of worms.  I added my stuff to the pile at mid day to minimize any last heat escaping while I opened it up.

I’m surprised they’ve stuck around in the large bin- it certainly helps for when the composting process slows to a crawl.

The trash can composter is completely stopped, so I’m trying to figure out how to get that kickstarted again- too small of a system to add compost toilet material to, and it’s filled to the brim anyway.

How have you been handling the colder temperatures?

Year-Round Heroes: Leaves and Worms

I haven’t been paying much attention to the large compost pile lately, but it made it through the first snow with no problems- the snow wouldn’t melt on the center- good sign!

While emptying a week’s worth of food scraps into the center, I couldn’t help but notice all the red wigglers present… if I can keep them warm, I’ll be doing just fine through the winter!

Compost king: Paul Sellew at TEDxBoston

While TED talks mostly make me cringe, this one explains composting pretty well.

To be clear, he owns an anaerobic digester and that puts his presentation in a light I don’t fully agree with, but if you put that aside it’s worth watching.

The initial pitch is spot on up until about 6 minutes when he goes pro-burn while taking a dig at solar and wind…super lame.

It’s best to view composting as avoiding the landfill, cutting emission, and replenishing soil- the energy talk is nice, but it’s not the job for anaerobic digestion.

That being said, the reality is that this model is expanding, and I’m not opposed to it entirely- outdoor aerobic piles can be difficult to manage when their daily allowance is several hundred tons per day and the inputs aren’t being screened properly.

Our efforts must focus on everyone composting at home for the best results- no trucks, no burning, and immediate use of the finished compost at home and in the community.

Don’t get me wrong- whatever it takes to get organics out of the landfill is great…but I encourage everyone to learn how to compost at home and leave anaerobic digestion facilities for the large quantity generators.