Backyard composting

We moved to the suburbs this summer and acquired a backyard.  I knew about composting, but I never had any space to practice.  Not long after moving in I checked out a book on composting from our neighborhood library and decided to give it a try.  We had quite a lot of dead leaves built up in the planters around the house, so I had lots of organic matter on hand to start a nice size pile.  I picked an out of the way corner and used chicken wire as a way to contain my pile.  In went all the dead leaves around the yard, as well as any green weeds or trimmings from the yard.  That formed the based of my pile, which I now supplement regularly with kitchen scraps.

We have a small trash can in the kitchen, which we fill with coffee grounds, banana peels, fruit and vegetable scraps, old bread, and egg shells.  Every day or so we carry the can out to the compost pile, dig a little hole, and dump the scraps in.  I’ve been pretty impressed with how quickly things are breaking and how little work it involves.  Other than adding new scraps to the pile, I just try to add a little water once or twice a week since we live in a dry climate, and poke at it occasionally to mix things up.

It’s been about a month since I built the pile, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by two things.  First, it doesn’t smell bad!  Mostly it smells like leaves.  Second, between the composting and our city’s recycling program, our two person + one cat family is producing less than one kitchen-sized bag of trash per week.  All in all, it seems like a pretty easy way to decrease your footprint.  Plus in a few more months I’ll have some very nice organic fertilizer for my plants.  I’d say composting is definitely worth the effort if you have a little space to work with.

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