Thinkin’ Green–The Reckless Life of a Fervent Composter

~~By kenosha Marge

(Editor’s Note: I’m also an avid composter and lugged my own “Green Machine” sold by Mercer Country from NJ to NM 8 years ago. It’s quietly composting as you read this…GRL)

If you are a concerned citizen of the planet and would like to do your bit in the newly trendy “Going Green” movement there are many things that you can do.

Many of the green schemes are possible only if you have the income of Warren Buffet or Bill Gates. However most of us have to set our sights just a tad lower. And some of us, lower still. I start with garbage.

I compost. I am a fervent composter. This will not get me a place in the Trendy Green Hall of Fame. It makes even some of my nearest and dearest turn up their sensitive noses and go “eeewww”. However composting is one small way that those of us with limited funds and the will to do something, be it ever so small, can do something “Green”. After all, we all have garbage.

Basically composting is taking things you usually throw away and put them someplace where they are allowed to rot. For some folks that may not sound appealing. In fact for most folks that may not sound appealing. Until you fully understand composting at which time you will yell “Eureka” and listen in fascination to my words on composting, or maybe not the Eureka and the yelling part.

Composting means that many of the things you used to haul out to the curb now have a home in the “compost” area in your yard or basement or even in your kitchen. There are some dandy composters available that you can keep in your kitchen and feed table scraps. And they won’t pee on the carpet or bark at night. They will just produce good organic planting soil. Costs run anywhere from $40-50 for a bucket like thingy to the BMW of composters at $400.00 and up.

Got grass clippings? They add nitrogen. Who knew? Why trudge out to the curb with bags of this stuff and then go buy nitrogen for your garden?

However grass clippings alone do not a compost pile make. Just grass clippings will become all squashed together, be slow to “break down” and will soon start to stink. Not a desired outcome. Add some “brown” stuff and your compost will break down and eventually turn into dark rich stuff that looks, feels and smells just like that expensive “organic potting mix” for which you recently paid a small fortune.

Add your coffee grounds to the mix, filter and all. Paper is organic and will break down nicely. This is much better than having it sitting in a garbage bag in a landfill somewhere.

Worms, those industrious little buggers just love coffee grounds. And before you run screaming into the night at the thought of a worm, worms are our friends, my friends. I can see you scurrying for your mouse to click as far away from this lunatic as possible because there is no damn way no damn worm is a friend of yours. A caterpillar maybe, at least they are cute and fuzzy. Worms are just, well, wormy things.

My friends there may be no harder worker in the garden ecosystem than the earthworm. Earthworms are voracious little consumers of organic materials that leave nutrient rich manure called castings in their wake aka known as worm poop.

They work their way through the soil, cycling nutrients between the soil surface and as deep as six feet below. Not bad work for such icky little critters, is it? They work wonders in your compost pile. Not so desired in the kitchen composter though; at least not in my kitchen composter if and when I can afford to buy one.

You don’t have to love worms or bring them home to meet your parents to appreciate them. Running into the occasional earthworm, which I decidedly do not want to touch, is one reason I wear gardening gloves. That and a disinclination to toddle off shopping with black half-moons under my nails that make people regard me as if I haven’t bathed recently or regularly.

Anything that was living at one time is great for compost bins. Think of leaves, vegetables, and grass clippings. Spousal units are not to be considered compost. Even dedicated gardeners on the Police Force will frown upon you and haul your composting butt off to the pokey.

There are dozens of great books about composting and worms. I’ve compiled a short list and have provided some links below.

Just imagine how much fun it would be to give a book on worms as a Christmas present. Some might actually read it and learn. You’ll never know unless you try. And if half the family decides not to talk to you will that be a bad thing?

Links on info:

http://www.composting101.com/

http://www.seedsofchange.com/enewsletter/issue_49/worms.asp

Some of the books below may be available at your local library and then you can go green by saving green.

Links to books on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Rodale-Bookof-Composting-Methods-Gardener/dp/0878579915/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1222698949&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Basic-Composting-Started-Stackpole-How/dp/0811726479/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1222698949&sr=1-2

http://www.amazon.com/Worms-Eat-My-Garbage-Composting/dp/0977804518/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1222698949&sr=1-4

Confession time; I don’t really live a reckless life fervently composting or otherwise. Because you know you wouldn’t have read something titled “My Life With Rotting Garbage”. Would you?

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5 Responses

  1. Loved it! my own pile is growing and composting out back! I’m getting a new bed ready for spring too because the spot i have been using for a garden the last 2 years gets very little morning sun. Gardening is good for the soul!

    CQ

  2. Yes to composting. No to political b.s., even though it gets recycled, again and again and again…

  3. What they recycle has no nutrients. Thus the further it’s spread the more it stinks and the less good it does.

  4. Sort of like putting fat drippings and meat scraps into the compost pile…attracts VERMIN (rats) along with stinking!!!

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