Composting the Mosting... or IDK. It's About Compost
So, sometimes, my fam has an idea…
And I’m like, really? *Insert unconvinced, scrunchy-face
Then, the idea arrives, and they set it up, and we find a good home for it. And I see it, imagining the good that could come from it…
And, I’m like, really? *Again, with the face.
Still, we’re doing this. Now, we’re those people. We’re composters. Yikes.
Joe and Abby researched, purchased, and set up a composting bin in the backyard. They also bought a countertop bin for our kitchen scraps. We're in this family adventure for about... oh, maths... $135. If all goes well, not a bad investment since we've easily dished out around sixty bucks on cheap garden soil this year.
We are officially making our own dirt.
Admittedly, it’s not much of a stretch. Since the pandemic, we homebodies have naturally gravitated toward more at-home projects, crafts, cooking, and, yes, gardening. We’ve had pretty good success with cherry tomatoes this year, and I keep us supplied with basil and rosemary, because, duh, I use them for everything.
While I’ve always kept a small, raised garden for herbs and some veggies, my teenage daughter Abby’s interest blossomed last year when she took Horticulture at school (you know, before the world as we know it crashed into oblivion). Since, she has kept a small, but respectable garden, where she’s grown delicious lettuces and radishes. While her squash and cucumbers weren’t successful—those fickle jerks!—we are now eating lovely green, red, and purple peppers from her garden most evenings. Yums.
Here's a pic of one of her perfect purple peppers... Say that ten times fast.
So, now we have a composting bin.
Filling the bin has been easy. Abby has dutifully provided us a list of do’s and don’ts. We’re saving our peels, grounds, eggshells, and other organics like good, little composters in hopes of having nutrient-rich soil for our gardens to raise our success rates.
We wanna be able to grow anything in that jank—beefsteak tomatoes, yellow squash, magic beanstalks, cabbage patch kids, little garden gnomes, ANYTHING.
Besides, making the most of what you have, reusing and recycling, creating something out of nothing—it's truly badass. Like, seriously. It's in my DNA, too. Mom saved everything and gardened and sewed and clothed an entire troop of Boy Scouts on thrift store finds (Boy Scout stuff is hella-expensive). After college, I was a teacher, so I naturally made the most of everything I could because that’s what teachers do. Then, as a preschool director, I learned a hundred different ways to use cardboard toilet paper holders and paper bags. And now, I’m spatchcocking the hell out of chickens, eating them for dinner, using the carcass for homemade stock, and the remaining onion, celery, and carrots for… hello… compost. The efficiency and productivity of it really tickles my fancy.
Remember Airplane? McCrosky says, “Johnny, what can you make of this?”
“This? Well, I can make a hat; I can make a brooch; I can make a pterodactyl."
While making our own dirt excites me, I fear the possible downsides.
The neighborhood pack of coyotes (yes, they're really a thing here) will catch the scent of our plans and prowl our bin like it’s filled with meat-a-licious coyote treats.
Or we'll be overrun with maggots and flies.
Or squirrels will use it as an exercise wheel… actually, that’d be hilarious. I hope that happens.
Or IDK… we'll end up with a bin full of smelly, steaming sludge that’s struck by lightning and morphs into a gigantic mud-monster terrorizing the neighborhood (and everyone knows exactly which house it came from—egads).
In the few days since we started, we’ve seen a small increase in fly activity, but nothing else.
Here are links to the composting bin, starter materials, and countertop collection can that we are using, should you want to embark on this adventure, too. I bow to you, brave soul. BTW: I’m not getting paid to advertise these products. I have no clue yet how well they’ll work. This is a family experiment, plain and simple.
And, as our composting adventure continues, I’ll post updates on our progress or… you’ll see the mud-monster on the news. Either way, you’ll know.
UPDATE: Two weeks in... One side of our bin is full and percolating its dirty ooziness. The other side is filling fast. We did see some maggots, but apparently that's okay, and bug activity has decreased overall. No coyotes. No acrobatic squirrels, damn it. No mud-monsters... but TOMORROW'S HALLOWEEN, so...
Share your composting tips, tricks, and horror stories below, and Happy Composting!