Food in Season

eating locally all year long


on April 20, 2012

I Corinthians 10:26 for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.

When I was growing up we had a compost pile in the backyard. I remember carrying the dinner scraps back there after supper occasionally.  Well, now as a renter in a townhouse, I do not have the ability to have a compost pile. After a year of being tired of throwing away things that could be composted I decided to find a way to start a compost bin. After some searching I discovered you can use a trash can to make a compost bin. I decided to do this. I went to Lowe’s and bought the least expensive trash can they had. I Drilled holes in the bottom, sides, and top of the trash can. (I probably could have used a bigger drill bit, but I didn’t have one available so I drilled ALOT of holes) See how tiny they are. I then set the trash can on some old bricks for air circulation, and I put a bungee cord over the top. Why the bungee cord? Well two reasons – first of all it is not a pretty sight to chase a trash can that has been blown by the wind with weeks worth of decomposing material inside; second, you will need to roll this around in the yard occasionally to mix it up. So how did I start collecting the compost? Well compost needs green materials (nitrogen) and brown materials (carbon). You need between 25-50% browns and 50-75% greens. So I started with my kitchen scraps which is what had me wanting to compost in the first place. Tea bags, coffee grounds, egg shells, veggie scraps, fruit peels, and  juicing pulp are all things that can be composted. You will not want to compost dairy, bread, or meat. For brown matter I collect old leaves, dried grass clippings (fresh clippings are considered green material), sticks, and hay from my guinea pigs. I started this bin at the end of February and to my surprise it is already turning into dirt!  I have rolled it around in my yard about every other week. “Doesn’t it stink?” some people ask. The answer is NO. It smells like dirt! Really, it does! If you create a compost bin and it smells like garbage you do not have enough brown material. If you compost bin is doing nothing – not decomposing – you need more green material. Also compost has to be kept damp. In the spring here in western PA we do not have a problem with damp; but in the summer you may need to add a little water. I actually add water kefir I don’t  finish; it has beneficial bacteria to aid in composting. (What is water kefir you wonder. Well follow my blog and you will see a post on it soon) Since this is my first time making and using a trash can as a composter I don’t have all the answers yet. But mine is working. I have also been asked will you have to sift through all the non decomposed material to get to the compost. Well I am not 100% sure on this but I imagine 2 things will happen. First, it is only a thirty gallon trash can and mine is half full. I imagine by the end of summer it will be completely full and I will let the whole thing turn to compost over the fall and winter and it will be ready for using next spring. Or if it is not full come winter it will freeze and in the spring I will push aside the small amount I added in the winter. I will definitely post an update in this as the year progresses.

One last thing. If you live in the area, the city of SEWICKLEY offers free compost (made from leaves) from May-July. I know their website says 2010, but I called them and it is available this year – 2012. Thanks to some friends in church for letting me know about this.


2 responses to “Composting

  1. devannh says:

    Is paper shreds considered brown material?

  2. devannh says:

    Thank you for posting!

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