Between recycling and our three compost piles we have very little trash to take out each week now.
I can remember a time when we used to need two huge trash cans at the curb each week!
Boy have we come along way.
I know I have shared about our vermi-composting a few years ago (most of the pics aren’t working on that post…sorry about that but I have no idea where they are on the computer to fix it…the info is still good though)….which merged into a bigger compost pile the same year…
Which has now led into having three locations in our backyard for composting.
Sustainable living is addictive as you get into it
No…I do not use one of those nifty barrels you have to spin. We would fill up one of those barrels in a week.
I LOVE good soil and living in a neighborhood I have plenty of very crappy soil to amend around here!
So why three?
Let me bring you into my reasoning.
The first one…stays in the garden.
Garden Compost Pile:
This is my newest pile. Betsy taught us this at school. I love this method!
You have a compost pile in one section of your garden for all of your garden waste and it rotates in the garden with each season.
Each season as the compost breaks down you drag that top layer over to a new spot… in it’s place you leave behind the newly composted soil and all of those fantastic nutrients….
- Only garden waste.
- If a garden plant is being pulled because of disease or parasites it goes in yard waste pile…NOT the pile that will go back onto the garden one day. This keeps the risk of the disease infesting the next seasons veggies.
- NO WEEDS. ALL weeds go straight into the yard waste pile.
- No chemically/synthetically treated plants.
Kitchen Compost Pile:
We started this pile a few years back.
- Each day we collect all the scraps from the house in a large tupperware container. We put just about everything in there fruit, veggies, cakes, breads, dairy, and even meat (if I feel like I can bury it deep enough to keep the scavenger creatures away).
- I “turn it” every few days with a rake or a shovel.
- This pile we keep fenced in due to our crazy dogs. The fence also always me to stuff this pile super high with herbs and garden veggies that have “gone to seed”. One side of the fence unhooks and comes off when I need to turn it or get compost out.
- Once a garden plant has seeds on it I want it to decompose away from the garden so it doesn’t pop up again. Those plants go in this pile. Yesterday I cut back a ton of mint that had gone to seed. I was super excited to have lots of green compost to add to this pile since I had just moved a ton of fresh, beautiful fully composted soil to the garden from it last week.
- Notice the black tarp? It serves a few purposes. It once again helps with the “keeping critters out” purpose. On hot Summer days it also helps “cook” the compost and heat the pile up and compost a bit faster.
Yard Debris Compost Pile:
The ugly stepsister of the bunch…but important just the same.
I was tired of bagging yard debris like grass clippings and leaves. It just felt so wasteful and really it was. Yard debris makes great compost! With my yard soil in such poor condition this was a great option for working towards a healthier lawn…one of these days.
Gardening, I am great at…green grass? Not really my finer point.
This piles basics:
- All yard debris goes in this one…weeds, leaves grass clippings etc…
- Since it is not fenced in and not in a very sunny spot (to help break it down faster) no food or any kind. Just yard stuff.
- I am a slacker with this pile and only rake/turn it every month or so.
- All compost from this pile is to be used ONLY on the yard. Since weeds are thrown in it I don’t want any random weeds popping up in the garden.
Well that about sums up our composting around here. We are restarting another worm composting pile this Winter as a homeschool project again. The last one lasted for about over a year before we finally just merged thousands of worms in with the Kitchen compost. They are still thriving in there! They even made it through last Winter! Probably because it was such a warm Winter.
In the Winter though I prefer having the worm bin in the garage though and being able to just dump the compost without having to bundle all up to take the scraps to the kitchen bin.