Tag Archives: how to compost

What Composting System is Right for You? (video)

What Composting System is Right for You?

What composting system is right for you?  There’s 4 main methods for composting: dig a hole, compost bin, worms, compost tumbler.  They all have their pros and cons, so here we go:

Dig a hole – $0
+No maintenance
-Risk of animals/pests digging it up
-Hard to obtain any compost
-Might annoy neighbors

Compost Bin – $25+
+Cheap, easy to do it yourself for free
+Can handle large volumes
+Can thoroughly process any and all organic materials
-Unsightly?  (It’s worth it though, trust me)

Worms – $30/lb, $100+
+Works year round
+Worm castings are a great soil amendment
+Fun for educational purposes
-They need attention to ensure they’re happy
-Somewhat expensive to start

Compost Tumbler – $175+
+Secure from pests/animals
+Turning the compost is easy (although not necessary)
+Neat in appearance
-Limited capacity
-Attention to moisture/oxygen levels
-Lots of crappy models on the market



When is Your Compost Ready to Use? (video)

When is Your Compost Ready to Use?

When is your compost ready to use? Some questions to ask yourself include:

How does it look?
Can you recognize any of the material?
How does it smell?
Is the material warm?

Here I have a few different samples of compost…vermicompost, tumbler compost, commercial compost, and trench compost.

What do you think of these samples?  I feel like my tumbler compost and vermicastings could both go even longer before using them, but that they’re still OK if I were to use them now.  In fact, I’m going to use these samples for my next “Clash of The Composts!” experiment coming soon… stay tuned!

Do I Need More Than One Compost Tumbler? (video)

Do I Need More Than One Compost Tumbler?

Do I need more than one compost tumbler?  No!  You don’t even need one.  You don’t even need a dollar to compost at home.  It’s all a matter of choice.

Wilmington Organics Recycling Center (video)

Wilmington Organics Recycling Center- Part 2

This is the best video showing how a commercial composting facility handles their stuff.

Keep in mind this is a $20 million facility complete with 2 ton Goretex tarps and capacity of 500+ tons a day.  Wow.  I know of a few customers of theirs that are quite happy with their stuff, and I’ve been a recipient of their finished product and we saw how that did…remember?

One thing that I always wonder about…how can they tell if their wood waste contains creosote or CCA, or was formerly used in phytoremedial projects?  Would the critters in the pile break down that nasty stuff?  Compost is a cheaper disposal route per ton than the landfill for most (within proximity to a facility, of course)… so wouldn’t that tempt more unnecessary waste going to this place without care if it’s compostable and/or non-toxic?  Gross thought.

I guess that’s sadly not much different than sending the same toxic stuff to a landfill, to leach out in due time into the water table (which does happen, and landfill liners are actually permitted to leak quite a bit).

I guess it always comes back to toxins in, toxins out, doesn’t it?

Basic Gardening Tips: When is the Compost Pile Finished?

Basic Gardening Tips : When Is the Compost Pile Finished?

How long does the composting process take? How do you know when it’s finished?

These are two questions that have so many variables that it’s hard to answer succinctly.

You can expect 6 weeks as a quicker (and not normal) turnaround time, but more like several months and up to a year, depending on how often the material is turned, how shredded the content is, how balanced the pile is, etc.

To know when it’s finished is to look at it and not recognize anything in there. I like to run my finished material through a sieve to check and make sure i don’t have anything else lurking in there somewhere…it can happen.

In the video above, Tia talks about this and shows us what some finished material looks like. It should smell good, too.

The BEST Compost Recipe (video)

The BEST compost recipe – How to compost

I can’t believe I never heard of this guy before. If you live somewhere that has kudzu and manure nearby, I suggest paying close attention to this dude. He has good insights on his material selection, like why you should use cow manure instead of horse manure (although either works), or when to use straw.

One day I’ll have enough material to create a massive pile like this guy does…the temperatures you can reach with huge piles is pretty impressive. Dude’s not messing around!

Can You Compost Dryer Lint & Vacuum Dust? (video)

Can You Compost Dryer Lint & Vacuum Dust?

Can you compost dryer lint and vacuum dust? It’s a tough call. Both of these items may contain synthetic fibers, but if you know what you have, the answer may be simple.

Stuff to consider: What’s your clothing made of? Apparently dryer lint consists mostly of pieces of cotton coming off your stuff. However, I’d imagine there’s some synthetics in there.

I think vacuum bags are a much simpler answer as they’re mainly dirt, skin, hair and dust.

What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know!

Another great composting how to video


The Dirt Doctor always says it right.

I did find it interesting that he supports putting all animal waste (including pet waste) in the compost.  Parasites found in dog/cat feces seems to be a hot issue for serious gardeners working with specialized plants.  I think that as long as the compost is actually finished, using it as a topdressing at minimum would be fine.

Composting at its ugliest…thanks nonetheless!

Today I was eating at this goofy place in the Mission, and of all the composting efforts I’ve seen in the city, this was one of the sadder ones.  Maybe sad isn’t the best word, but more like not as effective as it could be.

I understand that most people don’t spend their days staring at waste receptacles, but this one in particular is pretty hideous.  The rest of the space is this huge, open, bright area with hip and healthy food… then there’s these black and red satanic turds by the door.

Some quick suggestions for more effective compliance, which was not impressive: slightly varied sizes, make the holes different shapes, make the containers each a different color.  Yet another method is using a different color bag…clear, blue and green.  Or even just green for compost.  Plastic sucks regardless, might as well make it slightly more helpful.

Nonetheless, thanks for making composting an option!

Somewhat of a Composting Manifesto…

As my time winds down in the Bay Area, I start to think about what I’m returning home to.

A city that aspires to be the east coast version of San Francisco, and in a few ways is.  Although not nearly as awesome and still has a lot of work to do.

Anyway, if you haven’t googled me out yet, I will say that I work for a super-reputable hospital, one that is in the process of implementing composting.  Obviously, this is my main goal at the moment, and we will succeed.

We’re going to be the first hospital in Philadelphia composting on a ginormous scale, starting with the food prep area and cafeteria, and expanding into restrooms and who knows what else.  My extreme views will have every office space building a worm bin and having ambassadors so that the material is properly handled.

Do any of you out there realize that the healthcare industry totally sucks when it comes to waste generation?  And it’s my lifetime goal to change that, since working at a top hospital and getting them to do the right thing is the way for all hospitals to do the right thing.  If any of my readers are in healthcare, contact me to get yourselves a free consultation and on the right track to reducing waste, saving a ton of money and having fun in the process.

Anyway, composting is possible across the world, no matter how big an institution is, and no matter what lousy excuse you give me.

Make a personal pledge to yourself to make waste reduction a primary focus, and then make it second nature.  I dare you to not find it contagious.  I dare you to dislike it and tell me it’s irrelevant and not a pressing issue.

Take these newfound behavioral changes and implement them at home?  How hard was that?  I know, right?  Christ.  Look at you, doing the right thing and having fun doing it… imagine that.