Dishing the Dirt

A picture of compost soil
Image via Wikipedia

A few weeks ago, inspired by Derek asking why I don’t compost again, like I did in our old house (over 10 years ago) I started a very simple, inexpensive, compost bin.  For 13 bucks I bought a Rubbermaid 20 gallon garbage pail (with a cover) and drilled holes all over the bottom, sides and top.  After googling a bunch of articles, I was ready to get started.  First a layer of small twigs and then brown leaves, which are plentiful this time of year, in south Florida.  Next came greens, most of mine coming from the kitchen… mostly fruit and vegetable peelings and scraps, coffee grinds (with the filter) and really anything that is NOT an animal product or doesn’t have “unknown” ingredients.  Then I added a few shovels of soil just to get things cooking.  Though Derek really wants to add worms to it, which would definitely speed up the decomposition process, I am good without the worms.  I have patience.  I watered the whole thing until it was damp.  Then, daily, I add more kitchen scraps, raked leaves, water as needed and turn (best I can) more often then I need to.  I add water to it whenever it looks like it could use some.  The best consistency is like a sponge filled with water…muddy…damp but not sopping.

Amazingly, every time I open the lid, it smells sweet to me.  It is so easy and feels really good to be doing this for the earth.  Because the soil that is made from composting is considered THE most nutrient dense that you can feed your gardens, I decided to fill this bin and let it “cook.”  I bought a second bin this past weekend and will start filling that one, while the other one will just need to be turned occasionally and kept damp.  I will let the first one fully decompose and use it to build up the garden and/or feed the fruit trees (which struggle to be healthy, for reasons we have yet to figure out).

This composting project, which may sound like work, actually brings me a lot of joy…and peace…and even a little fitness!  All and all, I have determined that both composting and vegetable gardening, can be a whole lot easier than we think!  I am sorry I didn’t start sooner, but we can’t go backwards so I am really glad I am doing it now!

I will certainly let you know when that first bin makes it back to soil for the garden!  My guess is now that I am no longer adding to it, it will happen pretty quickly!  Have a magical and maybe even meatless Monday.