keys to composting

Welcome to the first Monday for Being Conscious. We’re starting of with some com-posts. Get it!? A post on composting. Okay. I’m done. Sorry.

Composting is a commitment. Whether you’re going full speed ahead & bringing worms into the kitchen (a goal but not an immediate possibility of mine) or keeping it simple with an indoor, short-term tub, the compost ultimately needs somewhere to go. Now, I’d love to see the process through all the way & put the new, fresh soil to work in my own backyard, but I don’t have a backyard.

I don’t even have an outside, really. I could buy one of these hefty guys or a similar, outdoor unit. But who has $300? And who trusts that sitting outside an apartment door in a largely-undergraduate part of town?

So before composting even comes into play, there’s an important first step we need to talk about. Step One of Composting: Figure out where the compost will ultimately live. Will you move it to an outdoor compost, where it can continue doing its business? Do you have friends with land & a compost spot or bin? Will you, like me, take it to a compost bin at a community garden? Composting is not only for gardeners. Even if you won’t be using your compost, you can be recycling your food scraps.

So. We’ve done step one. Step two: get your container or make one of your own. Put it in your kitchen & let the natural decomposition begin! Don’t worry. If you do this properly, you won’t have a stinky kitchen. I’ve previously linked to this great list of compost ingredients, & I find what they have to say on the smell factor to be most succinct & helpful:

First, remember to not put bones or meat scraps into the compost; second, cover new additions to the compost pile with dry grass clippings or similar mulch. Adding lime or calcium will also neutralize odors. If the compost smells like ammonia, add carbon-rich elements such as straw, peat moss or dried leaves.

Even when working in a small kitchen container, the key to the process seems to be working in layers, quickening the process with hay or grass clippings & adding a bit of soil to get things binding together. (I plan to toss in a bit of my organic potting soil when our bin has more bits inside.)  Other than that, HowToCompost (a site I have mixed feeling about, based on the unknown sources & lack of organization, but one that’s offered some good bits of knowledge) has nine other top tips for happy composting.

Now, go. Compost. I’ll provide more steps as we get going on them. For now, I have finance reading to do, a beer to drink & some pizza to eat. (Obviously, some resolutions are going better than others. Does it make it better if I say my overall health is improving & I’m back to awesome smoothies for breakfast?)

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About meganbetz

human geography PhD Student at Indiana University; wife, reader, writer, baker, gardener
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