I have made it a goal of mine to get started with composting over this winter. Actually, as soon as possible.
Last year, I watched as some scraps of food from our CSA share and meals were wasted and it made me feel terrible. As I began my garden last spring, I yearned for that mineral rich compost that I theoretically could have been putting on it had I started composting sooner. Instead of using compost from our very own kitchen, finishing the food circle, I went to the local hardware store and bought mushroom soil. It worked just fine, but I wanted my full circle, darnit. This year I am completeing it!
A couple of months ago, guest poster, Chris Long, wrote a post for The Vintage Mom on teaching your children about composting through creating a worm farm. This is where we will start. Here is the post for the tutorial. We’ll be starting a worm farm this week.
I am so excited to get them involved!
As far as going beyond the worm farm, I have been thinking about a bigger scale compost area since I am fairly sure we can fill it and I would like a place to put additional scraps should we have them…
I am certainly not an expert on this topic, but I will gladly share with you my steps in the process as I go along.
Being that mid-winter isn’t necessarily the best time of year to begin a compost pile (you can start one any time of year really though), I hoarded some leaves from our abundant forest (totally an exageration) in the backyard so that I would have enough carbon producing components in my pile. With our CSA share, I’ve got the nitrogen component covered all winter long!
I chose a spot in our yard where I will place the pile. It right near our shed, and gets some sun during the day but not direct.
Here is my step by step plan:
1. Find or build a compost container of some sort for outside. Start saving for a compost tumbler. Right now, I am going to start this pile on bare ground (well, on a pallet), because I would like to get started right away. I am going to see how it goes this way. I plan on heading out to the hardware store to get the supplies to build an enclosed pile. We have TONS of animals in these parts and I would prefer them not get into it.:)
There are so many different ways to create your “compost bin”, it just depends on what you want, the space that you have, and how much waste you produce. Here is a great example of a cheaper variety that looks very functional and doesn’t take up a lot of space.
2. Make a DIY Kitchen Compost Bin for now. This is a great tutorial on how to make one out of a coffee cannister and charcoal filters…SUPER easy! You could cetainly buy one but it is just as easy to make one. It may not be as easy on the eyes at first but there’s always Mod Podge, right?!
And of course the things you can put in a compost container and scraps to avoid…
3. Start layering my pile. First I will put organic materials – the browns and greens (veggie waste combined with grass clippings, those leaves I saved, and some garden waste) about 1/2 inch thick. Then I will add an organic compost starter to activate the pile. Finally I will top it off with some garden soil.
*During the thick of this winter, I’ll be adding a bit of a canvas tarp to keep the pile somewhat insulated underneath. Of course, this won’t be necessary during the warmer months.
4. Turn and water. Because I will be adding new greens quite frequently, I will be turning the pile weekly (if possible) and watering midday when warm(er) outside.
I am certainly hoping to prevent the waste of all of those greens and scraps this winter, making them into a food for my garden this upcoming spring.
Do you have a compost pile? What do you do differently in the winter if you do have one? When did you start yours?