your random oddball composting tip

March 12th, 2009 7:24 pm by Kelly Garbato

Being a good lil’ greenie, I try to throw as little waste in the garbage as possible. When it comes to plant-based waste, I usually compost it. Well, not “compost” so much as recycle: instead of a compost bin, I scatter my plant waste in a field at the back of my property, and let the critters have their way with it.

Scraps are dealt with pretty swiftly this way, actually; for example, I had to discard many wheelbarrows full of rotten and half-nibbled apples and pears last summer. I dumped it all in the pasture nearest my house, because that wheelbarrow was just too heavy to cart any further. The bees, butterflies and (I assume) deer got to work on the heaps fairly quickly, and six months later, there’s barely a trace of the fruit piles.

2008-09-20 - Butterflies & Bees - 0005

(Click through to embiggen and see all the little buggers.*)

During the spring, summer and fall, I’ll usually gather banana peels, potato skins, watermelon rinds and the like in a garbage bin in the garage, and empty it out as needed. It starts to smell if I leave it out too long, but it rarely sits for more than a day or two; leaves and sticks fill it quickly. Or if I’ve got a few minutes to spare, I’ll walk to the perimeter of the property and toss my waste as soon as I’ve made it, while the evening’s dinner is cooking or whatever.

Naturally, in the coldest months of the year, I’ve no inclination to go for a stroll – not even out to the barn. And storing food waste in the attached garage isn’t really an appealing prospect. So sometimes I find myself getting lazy and (*gasp*) tossing orange peels in the garbage. Bad Kelly, bad! Since I’ve been doing more and more cooking lately, I wanted to make it as pain-free as possible to recycle my plant waste, so I won’t find myself tempted to send it to the landfill.

Here’s what I came up with: when I generate plant waste, I toss it in a designated Tupperware container, which I then store in the fridge or freezer (whichever has some extra space). When the weather’s sufficiently agreeable, I’ll go recycle whatever I’ve gathered, and start the process anew. Of course, the freezer is the safer choice, but I haven’t yet had anything go moldy or goo up in the fridge (*fingers crossed*). I suppose our wacky Midwestern 75 degrees one day, wind chill of zero degrees the next day, winters help; so far I’ve been able to discard of my waste once every 7 to 10 days.

If you find yourself getting lazy about your composting in the winter months, give it a try. What works for you?

* Can you tell that I’m totally jazzed for spring?!

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