There are many reasons why a person would want to keep their garbage. Turns out- your organic waste is extremely valuable. Last night’s leftovers, egg-shells, vegetables, fruit (except for citrus fruit) and even paper can be composted. Although you could probably assign a dollar value to compost, the real value comes from re-using it to grow food. Compost is the stuff of life. Composting at home is easy and it benefits are numerous.
Compost is a great source of nitrogen for soils that are lacking in that essential element. Are your tomato plants’ leaves yellow? Other plants need a boost? Try adding some compost that is full of nitrogen and iron too. It’s simple really. Simply collect your organic scraps and store them in a container with a lid to keep the smells out. At the end of the day or week depending how much garbage you have- take them to a compost bin outside where nature can start doing its thing and decompose.
A bit of maintenance would be required though. Make sure that you are putting enough carbon (dried leaves or wood shavings) in with your food scraps. This would be 1 quart of food scraps mixed with 3 quarts carbon (wood shavings) gives you the proper carbon to nitrogen ratio for composting.
You’ll need to keep your bin moist and “water” it occasionally as if it were a plant. Get a shovel and turn it over occasionally as well, especially when the compost starts to cool off. Yes, you’ll actually be able to sense the temperature of the compost if you try. What’s happening in there is that the bacteria on the food scraps begins to eat at the organic matter, they give off heat and grow until they run out of oxygen and food. That’s why you need to turn it. Keep doing this for about 3-4 months and wa-la, you’ll see your old garbage transformed into a beautiful rich and fertile soil.
In this photo above depicts a 3 step process to handle a lot of compost. The food scraps go into the black compost bin on the right where they are turned before moving into the right hand side of the wooden bin where straw and/or other carbon material is added. The compost is turned and then eventually moves into the final barrel container (and again turned) where it looks like this:
Worm composting is different and a little more involved. A worm bin with a multi-levels and a bottom liquid container to collect the ‘worm tea.’ Using a wormery for composting is an excellent way to develop great soil for your small farm or garden.
More on Composting
Composting your kitchen scraps is a small slice of what really goes on out in the world. Organic materials full of nutrients is broken down, decomposed and turned to soil that can support new, nutrient dense plant life to form. One of the biggest problems with the way farm land is managed today thanks to purely short-term profit motivations pushed by giant agribusiness, is that the soil has no time or source of replenishment. The crops are grown and taken away without any organic matter returning for another cycle. Enter the need for fertilizers and bug repellent. Bugs are attracted to weak plants, grown from weak soils, not unlike how when our own body’s immune system is weak- we are more susceptible to getting sick.
Here in lies the problem, poor land management leads to poor soil that always equals sub-par food and even sicker land. The solution of course starts on the micro-level, getting away from the current model and going to smaller, better managed land. In fact each person has the ability to produce more than enough food for themselves, their family and friends and neighbors. Using compost from your current food consumption is key to building healthy soil. Start the trend, and start at home.