R is for Rot
Ah, moving into the overlooked R’s. I like this one (Rot a.k.a. composting) because not only does it make economic sense, but I get something out of the deal. Well, technically my dad gets something out of the deal because I currently don’t have a yard. And I do anything I can to help his grapes grow as long as I get a bottle or seven of the wine he makes with it 🙂 I’m also a fan of this one because while it seems difficult to those out of the loop, it is actually quite easy.
Layer. Stir. Water.
Usually once a week I spend 5 to ten minutes at the compost bin. Not a bad deal to be keeping close to a quarter of my trash out of a landfill (over half if you compost your yard waste)
and getting a soil additive that works better than anything else my pops has tried. Composting also makes landfills emit less leachate (a toxic goo from landfills) and returns nutrients to the soil. You probably think that this takes forever and a day. After all, it takes 1,000 years for the earth to produce an inch of topsoil. But take heart, composting goes much faster. If topsoil is made by a slow cooker, making compost is the equivalent of cooking a premade TV dinner in the microwave. Compost can be ready to use in 3 months.
There is a ton of information on how to get started. One place to start is our website. Also, visiting Retzer Nature Center’s compost area. This area shows not only how to compost, but a wide variety of compost systems as well. I prefer the bins that are completely enclosed because it makes everything look neater.
A huge composting myth is that it smells. If your compost has an odor issue, its your compost letting you know it needs something. Annoying way to find out, I’ll admit. However, if you keep your greens (nitrogen rich grass clippings, food stuffs, etc.) balanced with your browns (carbon rich leaves, paper, etc.) with enough water to make it as moist as a wrung out sponge, all will be well. Turning, or mixing, the compost is not necessary but it speeds up the process considerably.
I hope this encourages your composting efforts or encourages you to start making some of your own ‘black gold’. Do you have any additional tips? Everyone would love to hear them, so don’t be selfish! Share your tips below!