By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Don’t bag it, compost it

GAYS MILLS - I have a garbage disposal. Incidentally, why aren’t those in-sink models called garbage disposers? Our disposer is out in the garden/utility area and you might call it a compost bin. I’m a big believer in recycling stuff through the natural process of composting. Let it rot, you might say.

Composting can be simple or complicated. You can do it on the cheap like I do (big surprise there, right?) or you can buy a fancy composter as shown in the back of gardening and home owner magazines and be the envy of your neighbors. Either way, the results are the same: black gold–rich, fertile humus (not to be confused with hummus) for you and the earth. Your goal may be just to get rid of organic waste, but you’re going to wind up with some black gold anyway. ‘Organic’ here means anything that’s been alive.

One neat thing about the material that has gone through the composting process is that it’s clean. You can work with it and you don’t get muddy. It looks like soil, smells good and earthy and is just a miracle material for plants. It holds a lot of water, feeds plants and you and Mother Nature can make it yourself right there at home.

Its amazing how much organic waste a household can generate. The normal offal such as eggshells, coffee grounds, fruit peels and rinds, etc. is considerable. Add in some stale bread, a re-discovered way in the back of the ‘frigerater casserole that has gone past its best-used-by date, an occasional black banana, and whoops, some spilled breakfast food, and you get the idea. And let’s not forget the yard and garden–they can contribute a lot of the shear mass of an active compost pile.

In a way, my compost bin has backfired–that sounds messy doesn’t it? What I mean is the material that is produced is so rich and wonderful I think I’ve over used it on my small garden. Here‘s some evidence: I grew pepper plants one year that were a sight to behold. They looked like landscape shrubs: big, leafy gorgeous plants…….with not a pepper on them. ‘All vine, no taters’ to thoroughly mix a metaphor. I had given those peppers a lush feeding of nitrogen rich food (the humus) and I didn’t balance it out with the potash and phosphorus that flowering (and fruiting and vegetabling) plants need to do their thing. Beautiful, gorgeous, show-stopping plants, but they couldn’t cook, if you know what I mean.

Conversely, the best pepper crop I ever raised was from some small, stressed out, wimpy looking plants that practically prostrated themselves with their heavy load of fruit.  Yes, peppers are fruit. I had to keep them picked to save the plants from self-destructing.

The alternative to a compost bin doesn’t make a lot of sense: package it all up to be shipped to a distant landfill. Let’s keep it local, low tech, and high sense. Compost it.