Saturday, March 4, 2017

Compost pile Tips, Part II - Keeping & Tending of compost pile - even if under the sink!

Here's hubby in the compost from a photos several years ago.  His entry won second place but he always has first place in my heart as he is the champion composter!   Don't let the size of that compost overwhelm.  Will describe how to compost on small size in this article as well as more tips not included in Article #1

When we seriously compost, and as you know we even compost hair from inhome hair cuts!  I would not use a commercial hair dressers hair as it might have permanents or chemicals I don't want in our soil or water!
Compost hair from Hubby's home haircut
I am so aware of all the packaging of the so called convenience foods.  As I start to write part II of the compost tips,  I sit looking at a package in front of me.  I rarely buy products from the grocery that I can make at home, but bought these cookies on sale.  Shame on me - not that I didn't cook them and that I didn't buy from an artisan baker friend, BUT that I bought this product so unfriendly to the 6.  I feel like a failure in the process I live as a proponent of composting.  So I confess here. I compost dryer lint and hair from my hairbrush and I did this!!!! Yikes, but I confess my failure.   But take a look at the packaging on this box,  The slick pretty coloring on the non compostible box and the wrappers are not friendly either.    I make of course,   but look at the packaging on this....   As best as I can weigh, Looks like 2.40 ounces of the 4.04 ounces are in fact trash!!! So that on sale price of  the package on the grocery store shelf was wront!!! Over half of the content was non reunable produce = toxic products. No, I didn't weigh the wrappers.  So, that product that was weighed in at 4.04 ounces for price at the grocery, should have been 1.6 ounces.  Plus if hundreds others brought the products as likely they did, that was a large dent of space in the landfill.   Before I had a grinder for wheat berries etc.  I would use the store grinder and recycle the bags.  I wish everything I bought at the store could be refillable, as in refillable olive oil, laundry detergents etc, but that's another day. 
My failure as a composter - I promise to do better!

But here go a few more compost tips:

You can be a secret composter - anywhere   It doesn't have to be a huge mound of decaying compost that takes a tractor to turn.   In fact sometimes that can be the most difficult to manage - why?   You will need that tractor to rotate, and often, rotation doesn't happen soon enough. 

A small compost container for in the house.  This is a recycled food container

Under your sink, there are commercial containers you can use for this, but why spend $30 to $50 on such a thing when you probably have a recyclable item around the house you can use for the same purpose......  Get your own small food friendly trash bin with a lid that you can use.   Check local thrift stores or recycle stores and you can find small containers like this food friendly container.  Use one that is food friendly as it will help the earth worms if you are growing them. This one you could just put on the side of your sink, to remind yourself or under the sink if you are a "neatnik"... I used to be but no longer...... Or if you have a friend who eats large volumes of ice cream, those pails with lids come in handy as well.    

You can be a composter, even if you are an apartment dweller.   Have you got a balcony?  a place you can put a small but attractive composter - like a pottery container, you can add and stir down that compost..... The smell doesn't need to happen, if you rotate it and aerate it, water and control it and maybe just add a few earthworms to the mix.   Now remember you can cover it, but if you do, factor in the sunshine effect, that this is in full sun and you can get a temp increase of up to 30degrees or so more, just like the heat in your car, so you might want to use a white or gray container and then put an umbrella or find a shady part of the patio, so heat doesn't build up. 

Now after you have the wonderful compost what do you do with it?   You can plant your own plants in it.   If you find yourself with great surplus and I know you and your practices in food,  I'll be a grateful recipient, or you might easily find a local 4H group or FFA that would like clean healthy compost for their compost area or a community garden.

Why compost if I don't plant or garden?  
Easy, it's fun, it's educational for you and your family to make dirt
Instead of eating up limited dirt space with landfill, you create clean earth. 
You are giving back to the earth  
Saves you dollars, less garbage in land fills and
Personally educates us re all that packaging in the world & make needed changes

As you can see from my cookie failure above,  even the most radical composter fails.   When you do, you must lift yourself up and say.   Nevermore.  

Have you ever had a old cotton shirt that is beyond being a duster or even a bandana..... Don't trash it... tear it into strips for the compost pile if it is cotton, it won't take long to compost.  Tissues?   Compost.....   Lint from your dryer - depending on what you use to wash clothes with, compost!

We covered what not to compost in the first editions - summary again with a few new items here:

Metals, chemicals of any sort, paint, oil, creosote or other painted woods, meats or fats ,  toxic inks on papers, metals,  soaps,  . Any diseased plants that may breed the disease through the dirt.  Treated hay - if in doubt do not compost.   There are some sprays on some hayfields that will kill your plants if you plant in the compost and can remain in the soil for years. Contents of commercially prepared soils - most of the bags of plant soil are ven a plant from a big box store,    Know your source on hay and straw.  Know your source on the hay if you are feeding animals as well.   It can be a life and death issue. 

Very good source on herbicide carryover developed in 2009 by Oregon State University.  Permission to replicate here is pending, so it might be removed in a future blog edition. 
Herbicide Carryover in Hay, Manure, Compost, and Grass Clippings .

Well I could talk (or write), smile for years about compost, but would you do me a favor this week, think about your daily habits of eating, and buying and look at what you could change about them.    I love tupperware type containers.   I do wash aluminum foil and bags and hang both inside and outside.   It's a small investment of my time, but just imagine if only one in ever two persons really really recycled what a great and cleaner space we would have.   And as I have often read, the original inhabitants of our country were savers an reusers.... We were a farming industry, we didn't waste and had no convenience stores for our meals.   Living off the land was a full time life and I'm a bit jealous of those times, But back to the future.

If you have any passion about leaving the earth a better place, I invite you to try composting more. It is so basic and easy and will become a healthy habit for you.

True, men and women have polluted the earth, but each of us can help restore it. And while it might cost the convenience of a one toss garbage, it is worth to me.   

Besides, smile, Since as a farm, so much dirt gets tracked into the house through our clothes and the air in our often "airy" farm house it's just nice to return some dirt plus some more! 

Feel free to share this post as a challenge to others to see how much you can take away from your trash can and put in recycle bins and also compost bins!  Blessings.