• Jen

Composting - A Learning Experience

Jon and I have never composted before, mostly because we’ve never had a garden before. I’ve attended a few talks on composting but certainly not enough to give full blown advice on it myself. Composting will be a learn-as-we-go thing. And so far, here is what we’ve learned.

The first step was just getting a bucket into the kitchen to catch some of the scraps. We chose a bucket that was a little smaller to encourage me to empty it out every day. Jon made a point of saying to me, “if it starts to smell or the cats get into it, that bucket is out of here. . .”

The next step was making a list of which kitchen scraps were okay and which were not okay to compost. I put pictures on the list because C can’t read yet and R is currently learning. I’ve added a PDF for you to download for your kids too.

composting poster
Download PDF • 366KB

When Jon’s mom moved to town she left her compost bin here. A tower bin I believe is what it is called. It was behind the garage and full of weeds. We pulled it out and cleaned it out so it was ready to start from scratch. I chose a new spot for the bin so that it was better lit in the yard to deter some of the nocturnal critters that are bound to start poking around. We did a little research on the bin and found out that the bottom is suppose to be open to the ground. It was stored on a metal sheet out behind the garage which I believe is why there was no topsoil in it when we found it. (I've included a link to a similar bin below).

One day I would like a larger composting system that will accommodate the manure created by the flock of ducks I plan on getting next year. And of course any other farm animals that may pop up around here in the future.

Next, it was back to the books for how to layer properly in the bin for optimal breakdown. The thing I find most complicated about composting is how much green and how much browns to add to the bin. (for a list of what is considered brown and green refer to my PDF) A lot of the books I have beat around the bush of just how much to put in.

Banana peels, carrots, egg shells, veggies pieces, flower clippings (mothers day), coffee grounds, tea bags etc
Our Compost Bin

The one book I have, my favourite homesteading book so far, The Illustrated Guide to Country Living states outright to do the green layer 2- 4 inches thick and the brown layer ½ inch thick. It also notes that compost must be kept moist. You’ll notice my rain barrel is right next to the compost bin, not only for the garden but to help keep the compost moist as well. I’ve also read a few things about how important it is to stir the compost bin, how often I’m not to sure but I will keep you posted on how frequently we stir it.

I’ll provide an update on how the composting is doing in the fall and next spring when hopefully we can start using it in our garden. I will also be attempting compost tea down the road to be sure to stay tuned for that post.

Until next time my friends. Keep growing.

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