A Calm Post About Compost

Ahhh, composting. When you think about it, it’s truly a smelly, disgusting thing. Rotting waste that you have created sitting (roughly) in the open; an exposed form of sewage, essentially.


Composting, as learned over the years, is a mix of Green and Brown. Green meaning “live” plant cuttings (anything green), coffee grounds, egg shells, and food scraps. Brown meaning dried leaves (think brown, dead leaves), paper, cardboard, and sawdust (or mulch, or woodchips as long as it is untreated).

There are many things marketed to assist with making this feat less treacherous– from cute containers for your counter top, to easily turnable tumblers for your yard. I’ve used all of these methods and I can tell you it all rots the same no matter the fancy/expensive container you put it in. The counter containers smell so bad that no amount of charcoal can mask the odor (also, I am too lazy to empty it out regularly). And the tumblers, if you are not careful, can get too hot, produce too much gas, and “explode,” leaving you with a sludgy mess the next time you go to turn the tumbler (t could also crack if you don’t add enough “brown” and it gets wet and freezes in the winter).

In my humble opinion, the easiest container to use inside the home is a sturdy (and slightly flexible) plastic bin you can purchase at any dollar store. Place said bin in the top of your fridge so you can’t see directly inside it. And as you cook, place on your counter top, add your scraps (no meat, bones, poo, or anything with chemicals– also, remove stickers from your fruits and veggies and keep fats to a minimum as it delays the decay), and place back in the fridge. No odors! I empty it about once a week or so, depending on how full it gets.  I also like to add unbleached paper towels (from cleaning cast iron, picking up anything oily [again, minimal amounts], and drying hands after handling meat [but not the meat itself]), egg shells, and coffee grounds… oh, and just recently, the rolls from the paper towels and toilet paper. I forget cardboard/paper board is a brown. You have more of it in your house than you realize. At least, I do.

Once this refrigerated bin gets full, take it outside and put it in your designated compost area. It may be a tumbler, it may be a bin, it may be a wooden box, it may seriously be an open, falling down outdoor fireplace that is beyond repair (that’s what we use – this produces the best compost). As your Green rots, add some Brown (this will help with the smell). I don’t do a ratio, but I have heard 3 (Brown) to 1 (Green). It doesn’t have to be that complicated. The fact that you are removing food and other items from your garbage can to re-purpose into nutrient-dense soil should make you feel great. You are helping Mother Earth and being self-sufficient.

Happy Composting!





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