Saturday, June 28, 2008

Mmmm, compost!

I have been researching compost. You wouldn't think it needed much research, but you'd be...well, right, ,actually.

When did composting get so complicated? There are dozens, if not hundreds, of sites dedicated just to composting and the finer points therein. When I was a kid, composting meant anything that didn't come from a critter went into the pile and turned into dirt. That simple. Nowadays, it seems you can't compost the "right" way without a bin, barrel, box, or special gizmo for the job.

One of the best things about compost, when I was a kid, was watching the pile every spring just to see what would pop up. We had mystery melons, mystery squash, all sorts of mystery fruits and veggies that happily made their home in the pile. We didn't, as far as I can recall, turn the pile, stir it, water it, lace it with newspaper, add worms, or any of that stuff. Just kept adding to it. When it got tall enough, we might start another, or we might topple it, shovel the soil out from the bottom, and keep going. It was easy.

I'm a little intimidated by composting today. It seems one cannot simply start a pile and let it go - one must have a container for it (plastic, no less, and how is that helping the environment any??), keep it moist but not too moist, feed it the right mix of dry and wet ingredients, turn it, stir it, and play violin concertos to it fortnightly.


I had the idea to start a community compost pile with some friends - everyone would have a bucket which would get dumped on the pile weekly. Yes, even leaves and lawn clippings if they wanted to gather them up. I thought my back yard would be a good place, since it's huge and relatively unused (and I'm lazy and don't want to haul my compostables somewhere else when I could just fling them out the back). Hasn't happened yet - I don't have the money to buy one of those fancy barrel rigs, and there are enough wild critters scampering about that I'm not sure about having a pile just...sitting there.

Then again, why not provide a smorgasbord for them? They live here, too! The critters get fed, and their poo will turn into dirt, too - win-win!

What do you think? Would you participate in a community compost pile? Start one of your own? Or is the Dispoze-All just too convenient? Is it OK to just toss the stuff in a heap like I did when I was a kid? Or do we have to use bins and whatnot, now?

1 comment:

Kit said...

YES, and when do I get to start handing you our kitchen scraps?

There's nothing wrong with a messy ol' heap (IMO), as long as it's far enough from you or the neighbors that the smell and possible critters won't be a problem.

I have a special plastic bin, and frankly I don't think it's all it's cracked up to be. Next time I make a compost heap, I'll make a simple chicken-wire enclosure. I might stir it about with a pitchfork once in awhile to hasten things, but that's probably it.