Trials and tales of a not-so-advanced gardener--both in the dirt and beyond.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

To compost or not to compost

This week has been a whirlwind for sure--I'm excited tomorrow starts the weekend. And the best part: Sunday's high is 65! Sounds like possible top-down weather in the car...FINALLY!

Recently, I've been thinking about starting a compost pile. Sounds like an easy decision to make, but you have to consider where to put it, if it's going to take a lot of time to keep up, and, most importantly, what kind of container to use. Tons of sites are happy to sell a $300 composting bin, but that seems a bit excessive for creating "dirt."

Making compost requires "green" (nitrogen-rich items, like grass clippings and kitchen scraps) and "brown" (carbon-rich items, like leaves and cardboard). The benefit of making compost is the rich, humus that is created and the refuse saved from landfills.

Items to avoid putting in a compost pile: meat/dairy scraps, slick color newspaper pages (the black and white are okay), treated wood, oils, sunflowers (they are toxic to other plants), and pet waste.

Interesting things I didn't know you can put in a compost pile: coffee grounds/filters, hair, eggshells, cotton or wool fabric, and dryer lint.
Coffee shops will even give you their coffee grounds for free. Some, it seems, have them out for you to take a bag full. Starbucks calls this "grounds for your garden." I learned this from Anthony over at The Compost Bin.

It seems like it will take roughly 3 months to get some good, rich compost that can go in the yard. Perhaps all of the work is worth it.


Anthony said...

I love hearing about people starting their first compost bins. And you're right, you don't need a $300 bin to make compost. You don't even need a bin, just making a pile will be fine. Be sure to post updates on the progress you make.

Yardenwyld said...

I, too, am a fledgling (or seedling) gardener. I debated the compost issue for my whole first year with a garden and finally bugged the household handyman into clipping some wire into a circle. This was my bin. Of course, you could also just pile it up, but I think the bin helps. In the end, composting was the best gardening move I've made yet. Free soil amendment, fertilizer, healthier plants. Now, turning the compost pile is demanding physically. And some sources say to turn as often as once a week or more. I don't hit that mark because it is a pretty physical job, what with all the bending and digging and lifting. Start off small and see what happens. Good luck!

Viooltje said...

I'm so glad I popped up at Carol's for the GBBD and it lead me to your wonderful blog (ok, I admit it was the 'Greenthumb' that caught my eye). I'm quite a newbie with garden blogging as well. You might call yourself that too, but I have found so much interesting info here it kept me reading for quite a while. And I can't wait to see more photos of that lovely garden. Way to go girl!

Greetings from the Mediterranean