Wednesday, May 11, 2011

How much work is it to compost?

About two years ago, I started eyeing some giant fancy composting bin in Gardener's Supply Catalog. I never purchased it because it came, even on sale, with a large price tag.

Last week I went over to my friend Ms. Awesome's house to check out her set up. Her family of four uses some upcycled tumblers in their yard. There are two bins that are fairly large that they put all their scraps into. Ms. Awesome went over the rules (no bones, no pits, no weeds, etc.). Then she showed me how it tumbled and vented and talked about how it took a few months to get compost from them. It was a large system, and I know that if we had trees that had leaves or if we had a few more people at the house besides X-man and me (MacTroll doesn't really eat a lot of fruits or vegetables on his own) it would be a good system. Of course, I might need to improve my upper body strength because by the time one of those suckers got half full, I'd get a work out trying to tumble it. It was nice that the tumblers were sealed tight against possible pests, though.

Then I went over to Ms. Amazing's house where Mr. Amazing showed me his red worm compost set up. He started about 4 months ago and has proven to be really successful at it. His worm casings (i.e. compost) were beautiful. But holy cow, they're like pets. In order to get some really sublime compost, you have to grind down a lot of what you give to them. There's a temperature control situation, standards for venting the worms so they stay happy, which means you would need to keep the worms in the house (likely the storage room in our basement). There's also a mite issue that you have to look out for. And again, there are rules. No meat. No dairy. No citrus. Dry your egg shells...

I can't have a heap in my yard because we finally got our winter mouse issue under control because we back into a cornfield and an open field and a park area, and I really don't want to attract more rodents.

Rogers has been attempting to compost now for four years. She has a neat-o-keen large bin in the back from Lowe's, but she said she couldn't make it work. Things just kept rotting, which was a total flag for me, because there's a reality to how much effort I'm willing to put into the job. I also have to admit that MacTroll was not thrilled with the idea of housing worms in the basement. He'd be okay with the garage, but our garage isn't heated.

I'm sitting here twiddling my thumbs and realizing that maybe I need more of an apartment dweller's solution, since I'd only be composting the food of 1 adult and one child. They have some pretty fancy machines out there these days. I remember B.Lime downtown advertising the Naturemill machine on the local news some months ago. But again, it's pretty expensive (although uses very little electricity). So, back to the books I go...

3 comments:

~rachel~ said...

If it makes you feel better at all, we do the pile in the yard and have never noticed a rodent issue. We back up to a corn field too. We have mice come in to the attic when it's cold- although only heard maybe one this year thanks to the large amount of poison Mike put up there. Even the neighbor's cats(and there are many) don't go near the compost. Occasionally when their dog is out he will get in it but that's it...

Looseyfur said...

I didn't even think of Riley! I guess I'd need to fence it off...

imarogers said...

I have heard good things about the nature mill compost. I might clean up the compost and start over. I just hate the cleanup. Good luck.