and ramblings on everything in between
As part of my ever growing desire to reduce the amount of space I take up on this planet, I’ve longed to compost for years. I kept putting it off because I live in an apartment with very little yard space and no place to compost in the ground. Or a place that my landlord would approve, I should say.
Alas, the genius invention of a composting tumbler entered my life Christmas day. Small, discrete, and practically rodent proof according to the description. This is the perfect way for me to step into composting in my current living situation. My tumbler is the Yimby Composting Tumbler. It’s the perfect size for a single person who has limited yard space. Two chambers allow for two batches to heat up and break down at the same time.
If I was jumping into the world of composting, I wanted to do it right. I borrowed a few composting books from the library in January and away I read. I learned one thing very, very quickly:
You can’t mess up composting.
Mother nature will do her things regardless of what you put in the composter, but the process will happen faster or slower depending on the nitrogen to carbon ratio you maintain. You can get all fancy and measure “browns” and “greens”, you can take the temperature of the center of the pile to ensure it’s hot enough, and you can add worms and composting agents.
Or you can do what I do and not worry about any of that…and wait a lot longer to make useable compost.
I was doing something right, though, because on a frigid cold day in February, steam arose from the pile when I opened the hatch. Score.
Six months later, here’s what I created:
I don’t think this is exactly the “black gold” they referred to in the books. Close, I hope, but a little dry and a little too many leaves. It’s crazy to think this is six months’ worth of kitchen scraps! It dwindled down to so little!
Two things I discovered: egg shells and avocado rinds don’t break down.
What I put in the thing:
I gather leaves and small twigs from my yard for my browns. I use kitchen scraps (pre-cooked) for my greens. The greens go into a small container under my kitchen sink. When it’s full, they are transferred to the tumbler. I add in leaves after every few buckets.
I’m a vegetarian so a lot of raw fruits and veggies are consumed at my abode. I typically fill the bucket twice a week.
I roll the tumbler a few times each time I add browns or greens to mix it up and keep air flowing through the pile.
How I’ll use the black gold:
I plant a container garden every Spring. Tomato plant, pepper plant, zucchini plant, and herbs are my typical line up. Clearly I didn’t make the deadline this year. So instead, I’ll add the cured compost to the flower beds in front of my apartment this fall. I’ll store it in a five-gallon bucket in the meantime.
My handy-dandy composting books advised to use it as an additive to flower beds and gardens twice a year – in the Spring and the Fall. It can also be used to repot house plants.
My second batch of compost is baking in the hot July sun. Fingers crossed it will be ready in no time.
Any tips for a novice composter? Leave them in the comments below!