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    Just the thoughts and cookings of a software engineer that likes to make foodstuffs from time to time in the bay area of California.
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    October 2008
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Composting for fun and profit

OK, maybe not for profit unless you consider that you’re saving money by not buying fertilizer and saving the Earth by not putting perfectly good composting material into a plastic bag in the landfill. Fun is arguable too. I find it all overwhelming!

On a recent visit to a city-run farm, I wandered way back into the garden that is maintained by the local Master Gardeners’ group. Other than noticing that it was much larger than my last visit, I noticed composting bins.

Compost bin

Makes sense that they would have good examples of how to do composting! (Though I wish they had a sign that had more information.) This looks like the type I’m used to seeing with the stages. The first pile was manure, then there was an empty one that showed a grate. I guess that’s how they allow air to move around underneath. I’m not sure why that one was empty. The last one that is really tall had a lot of stacked plant pots. There were pots of plants on a tarp near the composting bins.

Compost bin

I read about starting a pile each year. When the new year comes, so does a new pile. Perhaps that’s their system? Seems easier than shuffling them down the bin line.

They also had the tumbling type that I’ve been thinking about getting.

Tumbling composter

I like that it is contained. Might be easier to move piles of dirt though. The idea of just doing a turn of a drum is appealing. Seems easy. I’m still confused, however.

I bought some organic apples this weekend. I hated tossing the core. I don’t do much outside except walk from my house door to the car door, but I know people that would love that apple core for composting! It’d be better put in a hole in my backyard than in the trash. What to do! How to start! Danger! Danger! Overwhelm Mode!

Not sure where to start. It’d have to be easy. In my research, the easiest seems to be to make a pile of stuff and leaving it there till it’s done. But if I keep adding to it, then it won’t ever be done! But I guess that’s where a pitchfork comes in handy for getting out the ready compost. Not so easy seems to be all those formulas like soil, brown (leaves), kitchen waste, at a temperature of X, with Y of water, for Z amount of time. Danger! Danger! — [insert brain explosion here]


3 Responses

  1. I highly recommend worm composting if you’re just starting. It means that you get a self-contained, self-sustaining system, with very little to worry about. Worms are pretty cheap and can eat a decent amount of leftovers (just not onions). Mine’s in a simple Rubbermaid container I got for 5 bucks, with some holes drilled in the bottom/sides.

  2. Not onions? Hmm… I’ll have to read up on it. I still have my bowl in the fridge that I keep adding to. It’s not full yet so haven’t hunkered down and decided. I have some extra Rubbermaid containers from the move so hm…. Thank you for the idea.

  3. These are awesome composting bins. I tried making the wooden type like yourself and found the wood would warp over time. I’ve since had to revert to plastic tumblers

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