Sunday, March 4, 2012

A City Girl Tries Composting

One of the earliest decisions I made when I started my gardening research was to have a compost bin. Although I had heard of composting before, I had no real sense of what it was. I vaguely associated with ancient hippies I'd met in California or radical environmental extremists who checked out of society to go live off the land.  I'm kidding of course, but certainly no one I knew in New York City composted their waste - not even my friends in Brooklyn.  Or at least I assumed not, since I rarely left Manhattan to travel as far as Brooklyn to find out.

But, as I read about it, composting just made sense.  It made no sense to spend a bunch of time and energy raking leaves and mowing grass to dump in a landfill and then go out and spend a bunch of money to buy compost made of the same kind of stuff you just threw out.  But, frankly, I was terrified of making a mistake. How do I know what kind of compost bin to get? How do I know what to put in it? How long will it take? Will it smell? Is it legal where I live? (Apparently it is.  My county actually subsidizes compost containers to encourage composting.)  So, after MUCH research, I finally ordered the Geobin from Amazon (that is not a sponsored link, by the way).  I chose that one after watching these helpful videos comparing all different kinds of composters (credit to Dave Wilson for posting these on YouTube): 

 Testing Home Compost Units: Intro

Part 2

Part 3 - the Results!

Geoffrey the Geobin arrived a few weeks ago and sat patiently in my garage where I would nervously glance at him on my way to and from the car.  Finally, yesterday, I could avoid it no longer.  I finally fastened Geoffrey's edges together to form a huge circular container and hammered the stakes into the ground behind my house (just around the corner from my new veggie bed).  I then spent two hours raking up old, damp leaves that had been covering my backyard all winter (see my mea culpa here).  I threw in a few kitchen scraps I'd been saving and, voila! My new compost bin:

A close-up shot of Geoffrey:

I should note that almost everyone recommends that leaves be "shredded" before composting.  At this point, I do not own anything capable of shredding leaves (I'm sure my lovely boyfriend would not appreciate me running our dead, slightly rotting leaves through his paper shredder).  So, I realize this material will probably take a lot longer to decompose than if I had shredded it.  That's okay.  I will be patient.  Meanwhile, I guess I will be buying any compost I need this season from the garden store.  Sigh.

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