Monday, March 30, 2009

Compost Q and A

After I got some questions from my most recent composting post, I thought I would just answer some of the questions in another post. I thought I would also post some of the old questions from my older posts.

Karen said: How often do you turn yours?

I turn the compost when ever I think about it. In the hot weather maybe every few days. Other times of the year, when ever I think about it. I do tend to cover up the kitchen scraps with dirt (turn it) to keep ants away.

Elle J said: Couple naive questions perhaps: Does it have a lid? How do you get wild critters from not digging/eating/messing in the bin and spreading it across your yard (we're raccoon country, or even birds for that matter)??

Well, those are not bad questions. Glad you asked. You can make or use a lid. I haven't but you can. If you are concerned about animals it wouldn't be a terrible idea. Some people use trash cans for their compos and that would have a lid. I have also seen tarps or an old carpet laid on top. I haven't had issues with animals. Make sure and not put meat scraps in there and that will help with animals (rats or coons or birds). Also, turning it and covering the kitchen scraps would help with that too.

Permission to mother said: Could I do this with a garbage can? Do you need worms?

Actually she posted this question back with my original post on composting (in fact, I posted that post for PTM). The garbage can does work. Either cut the bottom off or have lots of whole in the can. You don't need worms, you can buy or acquire red wigglers (a worm that eats composting HERE). When we were scooping the compost pile into our new bin, we found quiet a few worms. It is a good sign to see bugs like that in your compost. Nice healthy compost.

Susan said: Does it smell though?

To be honest, I have never noticed my compost bin smelling. And I am pretty sensitive to odors.

Rachael said: How about telling us what kinds of things CAN'T go in the pile? e.g. why no sauces?

Here are some things that should NOT go into the compost pile. Meats, fats, oils, dairy (other than egg shells), bones, dog/cat poo (but bunny litter and chicken manure is OK). You can compost sticks and branches but it takes a LONG time to decompose, so I tend to not include them. A big long list of what you can compost is HERE. As for no sauces, they are going to contain oils and cooked foods can tend to invite animals.

Hope that helps. Feel free to leave other ideas of things you like to compost that I have failed to mention. Hope this inspires and informs you. =)


Rachel said...

Thanks for sharing!! One day...hopefully one day I will find the time to start all the things I want to do!

Smith Schoolhouse said...

i had a question too. I always thought it needed to be far away from the house in case it attracted rodents or bugs?

crispy said...

Last time I had my compost pile in my garden area. And I really liked that. I would turn it when I was out there working in the garden. This time I wanted to have it close to the house so it would attract less attention. I thought if it were in the open yard, my neighbors would notice it and ask about it. It is not mentioned in our HOA but I didn't want to start it as a concern or an eye sore.

As for the bugs or rodents, it really hasn't been a problem for us. But I can see the logic for having it away from the house for that reason.

Anonymous said...

I love that you call them "coons". You're picking up the local dialect!

Proverb Mom said...

Thanks for the info! I just started one in a large bucket until Joe builds me a wooden bin (which might be May when he has a lot of time on his hands!)

Rachael said...

I will add it to my "to do...someday" list. :)

Permission to Mother said...

The compost at my house, on zero-lot line property is right next to the house. The property is so small there is no other place to put it. I have not noticed any increase in insects the past year since I've been composting. Ghost ants, cock roaches, and fruit flies (in winter months), are a problem in S. Florida, but not because of a compost bin. I have not noticed any rodents.

The compost bin at the office is set back in the wild a bit more, but that's not far from the building, either. We have always have had friendly racoons at the office and we still do. The bin has a secure lid. The racoons have not gotten the lid off, I can tell they try, though, by the foot prints and dirt path.

Permission to Mother said...

When you were looking for a house did you look at deed restrictions against composting? Will you be able to have any sort of garden at this new house? Did you look to see if that was restricted?

crispy said...

I did look at the deed restrictions for composting and gardening. Neither one was mentioned. Lots of other things but not those. So I think I am OK with those. I wanted to draw as little attention to my "earthy" ways, just so someone doesn't suggest that they put those rules in the deed restrictions.

As for a garden, I am not sure about one this year. But it is not out of the question for us. I will post about what we are doing for veggies this year later.

Permission to Mother said...

I totally understand why you would not want to call attention yourself! Yet I understand why you want to be proud. This kind of living should be mandatory.