What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

12 February 2016

Got Dirt?

In the years that I've been composting, I've had a terrible sense of timing.

Growing my tomatoes in my own
compost. The squash was a volunteer--
one of the hazards of using my own
compost is that sometimes
 surprise plants turn up.
I've never had enough dirt when it comes time to plant stuff, only to have too-full compost bins when it's not quite time to plant but I'm still producing veggie peelings that need to go somewhere on a daily basis (like now). It's probably time for a good churn, maybe to get some of the ready-to-go compost into a pot or two for when it's time to plant (which, in Austin, is only a few weeks from now). Maybe this time I'll have enough dirt to plant in without having to work around the not-yet-crumbly bits.

However! Supposing you don't yet have a giant bin of dirt that used to be old veggies, I'm here to help you out. I started out with a large plant pot on the balcony and some shredded paper, this list of things that are compostable, plus a love for vegetables. You need to keep a good mix of green and brown (brown is anything that used to be a tree, green is anything from other kinds of plants), so toss in more shredded paper or dry leaves every time you put in a pile of vegetable scraps.

Our original compost bin. It's since
been replaced by successive larger
bins, most recently a giant trash can.
I plant things in this one now.
If you're lucky enough to have a yard to do this in, but still want to keep your compost in a container, punch a couple of holes in the bottom. This will allow drainage, which is great, and also allows any earthworms and other beneficial creepy-crawlies to get inside, have a snack, and process your old veggies with their highly efficient digestive tracts. Check out resources from Planet Natural and Compost Guide for more expert-level tips than I have--while I feel pretty successful in my composting, I mostly just make it up as I go along and what's worked for me may be disastrous for you.

One final thing--keep a lid on it. You don't want all the neighbourhood squirrels, dogs, raccoons, and other wildlife coming by for a digging spree. When we started composting, we lived on the third floor with no nearby trees, so it wasn't worth it for even squirrels to come round for a visit, but since I've been living in a duplex we've been visited by pretty much everything. Remove temptation by covering your compost.

Do you compost? What do you use it for?

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