I was lucky enough to get an awesome composting lesson from Molly at the farm on Tuesday. It was great! Super hot out but our little buddies (Gus and Jonah) were on their best behaviour while we dug through dirt and talked compost…
I learned a ton about how to make composting easier, but most of all, I learned that if you have all the right ingredients easily accessible, it is quite easy to make your compost work. My biggest question for Molly was how to balance greens and browns in the compost. I also had questions about how much moisture should be added… and of course, I wanted to know any hints she had for sticking with it as I have failed at composting MANY times before.
So, it wasn’t until Saturday that I had time to devote to restarting our compost. Both Alya and Jonah napped for the same 2 hours (miracle!) so i got to hit it hard and finished the whole task at once without interruption (another miracle!).
Here is a brief play-by-play of my composting adventure…
The first task was to unearth the compost from behind the garage. It was buried behind pieces of plywood, a large over- grown weed/bush, and a road hockey net among other things. David dug it up for me and I was shocked at what I found inside! Beautiful rich gorgeous soil!
Ok, a few rocks and things but considering all we had done for 2 years was dump kitchen waste into it and that we literally had not touched it in a year, it was incredible soil. I don’t mean to get all eco-geek corny here but I was honestly humbled and amazed by this feat of nature. With almost no effort from me (aside from chucking the stuff in there) these little organisms had worked there little butts off and created soil. Sooooo cool.
Task number two was to separate this beautiful soil from the rocks, garbage, and other things that had made their way into the compost. I wanted to use it to start off the new compost.
I actually loved getting my hands right in there with the critters, spiders and dirt…
On the left, beautiful separated soil. Middle, soil about the be separated, and on the right, rocks etc. that were taken out.
After the separation process, I had to decide where my new compost would live. I wanted it in a place that would be easy to access, but away from the house in case it got a little stinky. I also wanted to have enough room to have my trusty container of maple leaves nearby (more on the leaves later) and a spot that would not become cluttered like the last location. I decided to put it behind our garden shed in the corner of our yard.
Our compost’s new home.
Next, I got to work laying down my base for the compost to sit on. One of the many things I learned from Molly is that it is helpful to lay down some sticks or rocks so that air can circulate through at the bottom and so that excess moisture can drain out easily. I decided on a stick configuration.
Next I placed my Green Machine on top of the sticks. Then I added some of my above mentioned beautiful compost soil…
Next came a sprinkling of dried maple leaves from Molly’s farm 🙂 Thanks! This is one of the life- changing compost lessons I learned from Molly- keep a pile of dried brown stuff beside the compost and every time I add kitchen waste, I also add a sprinkling of maple leaves. This was always my problem- too much green stuff and not enough brown… Having it right beside the compost makes it so easy to maintain a balance!
Next came the kitchen waste on top…
Then another sprinkling of maple leaves on top for good luck!
And…. DONE !! Yay!! 🙂
The last part of the process that I haven’t tackled yet is to set up my containers inside the house so that it is easy to collect the different types of composting materials… I am thinking of putting some little signs on the containers too so that all members of the family will know what goes where… 🙂
Big Take Away Lessons of This Project :
1) Composting is not as hard as it seems. The secret (like many things) is in the preparation and organization upfront.
2) Having a stock pile of brown items is a must. Keep them beside the compost and add a little every time you add kitchen waste. Molly has lots of leaves to share with y’all 🙂
3) Moisture is important. Too much and it will be a soppy stinky festering pile. Too little, and the organisms won’t have enough to moisture to survive and do their thang…
4) This project rocks. I felt so excited and motivated to tackle this whole composting thing mostly because I knew that I would be able to share it with you and that you would be excited and supportive 🙂 It was so fun to learn from Molly and then put my new knowledge into action!
So satisfying to get this project underway! Huge thanks to Molly for the great lesson and making me realize that it is not as hard as I thought to compost! Also thanks to the rest of you for being awesome and making me accountable and excited to share my composting story!
Until next time!