Harmonious Homestead
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Composting the Hound Way

compost binA friend asked on twitter recently if I had anything written about compost.  I have not and there's a good reason why: I am a lazy composter.

It's not that I don't love composting; I do.  I just don't measure temperature or output or anything like others who have composting down to a science.

My composting goal is to have a place to get rid of my food scraps and leaves without giving them to the city.  When it ends up as 'black gold' soil, that's just a bonus.

If you want to learn about how to compost the right way, read something else. ;)

home made compost bin Here's how we do it:

1) Build a compost bin.  Alex built ours from 2x4 posts and fence sections assembled with decking screws.  Tumbling composters do a better job at keeping the temperature up to make soil faster but they cost more.

2) Collect scraps.  For awhile we used a ceramic crock until I broke the lid.  Then we used a stainless steel flour can until that developed a hairline leak.  Right now we have an old plastic canister that holds our scraps next to the sink.  My Open Sky shop has a nice kit of composting accessories in it that includes a countertop collection bin and a cute bamboo bin.

Most composting guides will tell you to add only vegetable matter and eggshells to the compost.  If you aren't bothered by flies and waiting longer, meat and dairy will compost too.  We do not wish to bug the neighbors so we trash meat and dairy.

3) Dump scraps.  Real composters will tell you about layering x amount of brown matter with scraps and x amount of green matter.  We just toss what we have when we have it.  We keep fall leaves in a trash can next to the compost bin and add those if the bin is attracting flies.

4) Turn.  This is where the true laziness is apparent.  I never turn the compost bin.  Alex does once or twice a year with a pitchfork.  Sometimes a rat or mouse lives in there and tunnels through, doing some of the digging for us.  Real composters will advise turning much more often to maintain heat and lower scrap size.

5) Reap the soil.  Our bin does not produce compost very quickly.  Go figure.  When we do want to get some of the good stuff, we open the hatch and dig out from the bottom.

I hope I didn't lose all my gardening credibility today.  Do you compost? How?

By the way, worm composting is another way to go, one which I have even less experience. My friends at One20 Farm have a site devoted to the supplies and knowhow you need to enter the world of vermicomposting.