Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Dirt Crop is Doing Nicely!

As a soggy winter closes in, one crop continues to flourish: my compost heap.
Lazy Man's Compost Heap
December 2010
Back in April, I built a composting area out of a neighbor's leftover sod, and seven months later, it's grown to exceed its limits. I'm looking forward to using at least half a cubic yard of new soil come springtime!

I'll be the first to admit that the compost heap does not have a form of beauty that appeals to lovers of rigorously planned gardens. It's outright chaotic in form, but there's an appeal to that. I'm a rather lazy composter (I prefer to think of it as being efficient); I don't obsess about an exact balance of green and brown materials; instead, I check its progress with a shovel now and then, and if it seems to need more of one thing or another, then I make an effort to find what it needs. So far, this efficiency has paid off.
For collecting kitchen waste (plants only - no meats!) we use a stainless steel lidded bucket designed for this purpose. I used to have a similar, cheaper bucket made out of crockery, but it broke; steel is more expensive up front but it will last almost forever so it's a better deal both economically and environmentally.
Adding to the kitchen waste is any yard waste for which we have no other purpose. I simply don't understand why my neighbors pay to have their yard waste hauled away, instead of treating it as a crop to be used on site. While the small yard waste contributes to the compost pile, other stuff contributes to the duff yard or goes on top of the shed to sustain a brush area atop our shed.
To maintain the compost heap, I use a rake and shovel from yard sales and thrift stores. I love to prowl hardware stores but used tools can be a had at a great price if you're willing to buy from neighbors!
The key point: the compost heap is not much work and it's saving me money PLUS helping, in a small way, improve our world. Imagine if every yard in our nation had a heap like this!

I was inspired to write this compost heap update by this week's Change the World Wednesday Challenge
"If you compost, we'd like to know all about it ... in detail. Please give us directions on how to build a bin (if you did so), how to set up a bin and any tips/advice you may have for beginners. We're looking for "how to" information on this challenge.

Or ...

If you don't compost, please do some research about composting in your particular situation (apartment, farm, city neighborhood, etc.). Share what you learn and let us know if the information encourages you and, if so, when you might try it out. Of course, we'd also love it if you would actually start composting this week."

I recommend that you, too, follow CTWW - it's fun and inspiring!

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