Seed & Weed Wednesdays; Composting Options
For April we are going to focus on composting. You may be asking why an entire month devoted to this topic. The reason is because composting is THAT important! Our current farming practices are constantly extracting from our soil with very limited inputs going back into the soil to regenerate it. Our soil has been depleted at an alarming rate. Did you know we are losing our precious topsoil at a rate that is 10 times faster than we can regenerate it? It takes 100 years to create 1 inch of topsoil! Adding chemical fertilizers are only part of what we need from topsoil. Topsoil keeps moisture in the ground, traps carbon, and promotes biodiversity. In simple terms, life will cease to exist as we know it if we continue on this path of destruction.
You Can Make A Difference
The simple act of composting makes a huge impact on our environment in a multitude of ways. The largest contributor to food waste is YOU, the consumer. Each household throws away an average of 40% of the food purchased. While that seems shocking, just think about your own produce drawer in your refrigerator. How much of that well intentioned produce do you throw away each week? When we put that into our waste stream, it contributes to climate change due to the gases emitted while breaking down. Even worse, it is the lost potential, as the nutrients from that food are important resources that we no longer have access to because they are in a landfill.
Ways To Compost
There are several ways to incorporate composting into your lifestyle. Here are the top three options:
If you have a yard, this is the preferred method. You only need a shady spot to put your compost. Some people do a pile method without a formal structure (This is what I do at home!) While others prefer an enclosure like the one we have at the Garden of Gratitude, our community garden. Make sure there is sufficient air flow with your structure. A simple wooden frame with wire sides works perfectly. You will also want to make sure that the hose can reach your compost bin in case there is a dry summer, so you can keep your compost moist and active.
Don’t have a yard? Not a problem! You can compost (Fragrance free!) in your home. You just need a cool, dark area of your house such as a basement or under your sink. This method relies on worms to do all the heavy lifting of turning your food scraps into a nutrient rich compost. While you are more limited in what you can add to this type of compost (No ashes, yard scraps, etc) it still tackles the largest issue of food waste and creates an incredible end product very efficiently. There are several kits out there that range greatly in price. To start out, you can get an inexpensive vermicomposting unit like this.
Commercial Composting Companies
If neither of these options appeal to you, you can opt for a commercial composting company to come pick up your compost weekly like they do your trash. In our area of CT, there is a company called Blue Earth that will come to a community if they reach a threshold of committed customers to participate. Rally your neighbors!! Most companies will also provide you with a bag of finished compost each year if you are their customer.
One More Composting Option….
If you live near our Garden of Gratitude, you are invited to use our community compost bin. Our students rehabbed this bin a few years ago and have maintained it since. While we ask that the community leave some finished compost for our community gardens, we invite our community to leave compost materials and take finished compost to regenerate their soil as well.
Next week we will talk about what to put into your compost!