Ashi, Teri & Liz: May is the month of Compost!
ZERO WASTE BLOG - day two
Let’s talk compost:
We originally mixed all our compost together in a pallet bin, yard waste and kitchen waste, but then we started having a rat problem. Rats were feasting on our kitchen waste and we were not happy about seeing rats when we went to the dump our compost bucket.
Our solution was to purchase some metal 55 gallon drums that previously had grain in them. I drilled holes in the bottom and sides of the drum and then began using this as a worm bin. The rats can not get into the metal drum, since it has a tight fitting metal lid, so this makes a wonderful worm bin for all our kitchen waste. Since we are meat eaters, we put fat and bones in there, too. Then, when the drum fills (about every 3 - 4 months), I start a new drum. I let the first drum “finish” which just means that we let it sit for a few more months for the worms to finish off eating the food. When the drum appears to be mostly worm castings, I push the drum over and empty it out. The castings get spread on plants that we want to have rich compost put onto such as our rhubarb and asparagus.
We use 3 drums per year and just keep cycling the drums as they fill and we no longer have rats in the compost area.
Here is the drum with worm castings ready to empty - shells and bones get spread and eventually break down. Large bones get pulled out and get put in the chipper.
Yard waste: We have gardens and woods around our house so there is no shortage of branches, garden cuttings and weeds that all add to our compost. I have made bins out of free pallets and use these bins to compost our yard waste. I have a gas run chipper/shredder which chips the branches and shreds the garden waste into small pieces that make quick compost. I know that there are ways to compost without the gas run chipper but I have perfected this method of making quick compost and have not yet given up on the fossil fuel run chipper.
Here are some photos of our yard waste compost:
The compost is spread on our flower gardens, vegetable gardens and fruit trees. We are keeping thousands of pounds of waste out of our landfill while enriching our soil. I love composting and am happy to share my success stories and discuss my failures if anyone want to dialogue.