Thursday, March 22, 2012

My Failures in Composting

I've been keeping a compost pile going on six years now and I don't think I've ever had a good batch that I can use in my garden.  I'm so frustrated I'm about to give up.  I just had the last straw when I went to go turn over my (spinning drum style) composter and saw that I have an entire ecosystem of fruit flies flying around it.  Gladly, it's in an out of the way part of my yard, but it's a nuisance and a reminder that composting is an art, not a science.

Composting experts will tell you to have a 50/50 ration of "dry or brown" to "wet or green" ingredients. I tend to put more green ingredients, my kitchen and garden scraps, and forget to put in more brown ingredients, such as shredded bills, newspaper or leaves.  The result is an anaerobic mess that never quite cures and attracts pests.

But as much as I want to, I'm not giving up.  In fact, I'm doubling down and getting a cute little crock that will sit on my counter when I have kitchen scraps (instead of a plastic bag out the back) and I'm going to go dump a bunch of leaves in the composter.  Then I'll cross my fingers and hope that history does not repeat itself and I have usable compost by the time planting season begins.

An idea for entrepreneurs out there - start a composting service.  Green minded folks with no ability to compost (me) will sign up.  You can pick up our kitchen scraps once or twice a week, compost it, and then sell us back our waste in the form of local, organic garden soil.  I know the awesome community Prairie Crossing has a similar service in Gray's Lake, Illinois.  Someone needs to start one in my town.  But for all the reasons mentioned above, it won't be me.

1 comment:

  1. try replacing your compost bin with a worm farm. i got mine in the post from but you'd obviously have to source one locally as the worms come in a little box too. worm farms are fascinating, do not smell and are easily manageable once you've learned the tricks. very satisfying and can easily cope with household waste. the 'mud' produced (basically worm poo) looks good enough to eat and you also get 'tea' at the bottom which can be used as a foliage spray (diluted) or with direct watering.
    this company above has even set up the oldest hotel here in Cape Town with a huge worm farm dealing with the entire hotel's kitchen waste. how brilliant is that?
    if you need any more help / advice let me know