In my evolving love affair with compost, we’ve had our ups and downs. I’ve done everything from actively hot composting wagon loads of material to barely being able to get my own coffee grounds onto the pile. A lot depends on my work schedule, and because I’ve been working full time, I’ve had to trim down how and what I compost to make the process fast, efficient, and most of all, sustainable. Here’s the dirty truth about what I’ve learned.
- Keep it simple. If all you can compost that day is an orange peel, that’s ok. Better something than nothing.
- Bugs love giant piles of compost. This includes crickets, cockroaches, and fruit flies. Not necessarily a bad thing (they become wild bird food), but if you have a big pile, put it away from the house so you don’t get visitors.
- Grass clippings smell. Even when mixed up well, expect a good 24 hrs. of nitrogen-ish aroma. Again, put your pile away from the house (and downwind from your husband’s open bedroom window).
- Horse poop smells too. Not as bad as you might think, but a whiff every now and again will find you in the first week. Still worth it.
- Don’t put sticks and vines in your compost, unless you want the compost coming back out that way. They take too long to break down and make the texture a pain to deal with. Unless you chop them up, I usually don’t add them.
- Let the wind help. I don’t know about you, but the wind blows leaves and dirt up against my chain link fence. I used to get mad, until I realized this was the best type of material there was for compost. Crumbled dry leaves mixed with dust and soil – perfect. Sweep it up, toss it in.
- Be nice to yourself. I used to get guilty if I didn’t compost EVERYTHING that came from the yard. But that is unrealistic given today’s life circumstances. So I do the best I can, and let go of the guilt. All that is important is I am still going.
There is more to share but that is enough for one day. If you have wisdom to share, I’d love you hear your comments below! Compost on!