Monday, April 6, 2015

Getting Started with Composting

I have always loved the idea of compost. Ok, maybe ALWAYS is an exaggeration... But since gardening has been on my radar, I've loved the idea of compost. You throw garbage into a pile, and it turns into dirt! Amazing, rich dirt! When we moved into our house I just assumed that we would have a compost pile to feed our amazing garden. A girl can dream right?

When we started the garden I started researching composting, and the information made my head spin. You had to have the right ratio of greens to browns. You could add worms, or not. You could have a bin, or open air, or covered. It should be moist, but not too moist. It should be warm, but not too warm. So overwhelming! So my overwhelm turned into procrastination, which turned into nothing, especially not a compost pile!

Then I read a great article (I wish I could remember where it was so I could link to it) that was so straightforward it made me wonder why I hadn't thought of it before! It said that the ratios and temperatures and blah blah blahs were important, but you didn't really need to worry about it. Basically, just put some leaves and lawn clippings and fruit peels in a pile, and eventually nature would do its thing. Worst case scenario, nothing happens and you have to throw some stuff away that you would have thrown away anyway.

So we started. Steve raked leaves into a pile, and we started adding vegetable and fruit peels and rinsed egg shells to it. I didn't pay much attention to it, every once in a while I put some leaves on top of it if the fruit flies started to get bad. I would spray some water on it if I remembered, but mostly I just left it there.

Last week I put in our Spring garden, and I decided to see what was going on under all the leaves. And look!! Compost!!! Only the bottom two thirds of the pile had composted, but I was able to flip it over and add some rich soil to our little raised bed. I underestimated how much we would need, so I'm not sure if it really helped, but it was so exciting to see!

I also realized that composting has become such a habit for me. We ate at McDonalds on our way to Arizona a few weeks ago, and Jules got an orange with her kids meal. As we were cleaning up I realied I was saving her peel to compost! As "healthy" as McDonalds is becoming, they still didn't have a compost pile out back, and I'm not crazy enough (yet) to put all of our compostable trash into a bag to bring home.

If you've ever wanted to compost, but didn't know where to start, this is my advice: Just start throwing things in a pile, maybe something will happen.