Sunday, October 10, 2010

Composting Appeals to Me

Something about composting appeals to the Midwestern farm girl in me.

Okay, I've never lived on a farm. But I grew up in the Midwest, that's gotta count.

I enjoyed assembling my compost bin and here you see my tools. On top of the bin are the kitchen knife I used for gouging the holes that needed widening, and the hammer I used for pounding through the screws when they needed a little encouragement. The shovel was for my first layer of dirt and the rake was to gather my first layer of leaves. Then comes the organic waste.

It's satisfying to save the planet, but it's almost as satisfying to save money--or, I should say, to waste less of it. Before we got our compost bin our organic waste went into the trash. If we over-bought at the farmers' market or never got to that leftover salad, it felt like we were throwing money in the garbage. Now that waste goes into our backyard savings account.

Something about composting appeals to the miser in me.

We keep a little container on the kitchen counter for egg shells, grapefruit rinds, coffee grounds and whatever else can be composted. (Tea bags? Can I compost tea bags?) When the container is full I march it out to the compost bin and dump it in. We're getting a good layer of organic waste. We've already got some fluffy, white mold happening. It's almost time to add a new layer of dirt. Then I'll add more leaves. Then more organic stuff. The instruction booklet said to balance the different elements.

Something about composting appeals to the obsessive-compulsive in me.
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On a different subject: it's 10/10/10. Do we get any prizes for this?

21 comments:

Jean Spitzer said...

Yes about the tea. And thanks for posting about this. The whirlwind tour I got of the composter from the seller of our house left big gaps in my knowledge of this subject.

The best part of composting is the knowledge that what was previously waste will now be put to good use.

Jean Spitzer said...

About 10/10/10, no prize but maybe a party?

Virginia said...

I hope those crazy Tea Party whackjobs are composting THEIR bags! :)

Got worms?

My WV is INGESTED.

Bellis said...

You're wise to have your little bucket for the kitchen waste on a counter. Mine is on the floor, where it gets raided by the dog (for the bread) and the rabbit (for the carrot peelings). Boz would never do that, would he?

Dina said...

Good on ya, Farmer Petrea!

And thanks for articulating that part about the Midwestern farm girl in you. Same with me but I never knew how to explain it.

Petrea Burchard said...

Jean, thanks for reminding me that I meant to add a link to smartgardening.com. They tell you what you need to know about composting. See you at the party.

Virginia, don't get me started. They scare me. I wish they'd read the constitution. No worms yet (change of subject, FYI).

Thanks, Dina. I'm still not sure I explained it. I lived within several yards of two farms, rode horses, played in barns and hay mows. Maybe that counts?

Petrea Burchard said...

Bellis, how did I miss that? Boz would get into it unless we told him not to. But he would be sorely tempted, and I don't want to torture him as he loves to eat anything and everything. It's small, so it doesn't take up much counter space.

Latino Heritage said...

Most yes, depends on bag. Some are a bit more "modern" and less natural.

Cafe Observer said...

I'm curious who, or what, influenced you to take up Composting here?

Petrea Burchard said...

Right, Roberta. None of that nylon stuff--and no staples.

Interesting question, Cafe. My next door neighbor where I grew up had a wonderful compost going. I suppose that's where I first got the idea. Always wanted to do it when I got my own little bit of land.

pasadenapio said...

I like the photo. It's very Grant Wood. Pasadena Gothic?

As for 10-10-10, there was an item on the news about an hour ago about the baby born at exactly 10:10 a.m. today in Southern California. That kid will have a special prize: a birth certificate with all those 10s on it!

Steve Scauzillo said...

Looks familiar. We have the same bin.

J+P said...

What a rotten thing to post about.

Greg Sweet said...

The Tea Party IS about The Constitution, and this Jeffersonian Constitutionalist can compost piles around the most bourgeois & nouvelle backyard gardeners by using old-fashioned, tried and true practices. I know that is incendiary and smart-assed, but, to concentrate on this small subject, those of you that do garden and compost etc, had better wake up to the fact that "they" don't want you to do so.

Petrea Burchard said...

I wonder what they'll name him, PIO. Tennyson?

Steve, I hate to tell you this but I'm afraid a lot of people have that bin.

J, it's getting rottener.

Greg, I think what you're saying is what I'm saying, but I'm not sure. As for incendiary, compost can get pretty hot whether you put it in a bourgeois bin or not.

Bellis said...

Greg, I'm not sure what you're saying either, but everyone should read this:

http://www.economist.com/node/17103701?story_id=17103701

Susan Campisi said...

Excellent article, Bellis. If only that kind of thoughtful analysis could be heard on the evening news.

I think it's great that you're finding such joy in composting, Petrea. I don't have my own but I've been putting my organic waste in my neighbor's pile (and it really is just that - a pile). I'd been feeling guilty throwing it away after I learned how the breakdown of food waste is such a large contributor to greenhouse gases.

I think it's impressive that San Francisco has a citywide composting program: http://www.sfenvironment.org/our_programs/topics.html?ti=6

Petrea Burchard said...

Great article, Bellis, thanks. Susan is right, I'd love to find that kind of analysis available on the TV news--you can find it on Lehrer, but just about nowhere else.

Susan, the San Francisco program is great! Very progressive, as we've come to expect from San Francisco.

Dina said...

A peel, appeals to you . . . haha, I just got your title. :)

Petrea said...

A couple of people have pointed it out to me, Dina, but if I'd gotten it myself, I'd have been obvious and spelled it that way. At the time, I didn't know how witty I was being.

Dina said...

Haha, maybe that is a sure sign of genius.