I have to admit up front that I am a lazy composter. I don't chop up the old, rotten vegetables I find in the recesses of my refrigerator, I don't spend a lot of time turning my compost piles and I don't sweat the ratio of carbon to nitrogen. My philosophy is let it rot and at some point I'll get some wonderful rich compost to add to my garden beds. Over the years I have raked leaves into piles at the edge of my property and without any additional effort, have found rich black soil at the bottom of the heap! Of course this was after two or three years of the leaves rotting, but the treat was still much appreciated.
This is not my first foray into the world of composting, so I have a few suggestions to offer my fellow composters:
- Have a system. I have a three step system: 1) a small pot by the sink for vegetable trimmings, coffee grounds and stale bread; 2) once the kitchen pot is full I dump the contents in a small covered bucket on my back porch (with about 10 holes drilled into it); and 3) when that bucket is full I transport the contents to my mammoth sized compost bins in the back yard. This systems allows me to accumulate compostable materials for awhile and thus not use the excuse that the bins are too far away as a reason to throw things in the trash.
- If you are concerned about appearances or don't want to make your own system, buy a compost bin and collector for your kitchen. You can purchase these items online (check out Clean Air Gardening and Planet Natural), from your town (if you're lucky), or your local garden center.
- If want to be a bit more scientific or less lazy about composting, check out some websites on the issue. The Garden of Oz has a great article on composting. For the perfect compost recipe you want to work toward an ideal carbon to nitrogen ratio.
- Don't compost meat or dairy. The last thing you want in your black gold is a hungry rodent or two.