Making dirt

“Composting nourishes the land that feeds us.” This is one of the components of Alice Waters’ Green Kitchen Manifesto, which is found in one of my favorite cookbooks: In the Green Kitchen.  Being ‘green’ has always been important to us, but now that we have a baby on the way, it is even MORE important.

Of course, being green isn’t limited to your kitchen. Your trash is just as important, which brings me to the subject of this post: making dirt.

Fancy, new double-bin compost container (from R to L: bins # 1, 2, and 3)

Aaron recently built a  fancy, double-bin compost container to complete our composting process.  And he built using scraps we had lying around the garage.  We had built a single compost bin many years ago and had been diligently filling it with yard waste and kitchen scraps for a long time. Building the 2nd and 3rd bins has been on our list for awhile. When you’re limited to 1 bin, the process goes much more slowly, since you always have new raw materials entering the system and it is harder to turn the compost within 1 container.

We found excellent dirt at the bottom of bin #1. We filtered the almost-ready compost into bin#3, and transferred the half-baked stuff (which we caught on top of the mesh filter) into bin#2.

Bin #2, half-baked compost

Bin #3 -- Almost ready for application

Then, we keep on filling bin #1 with yard waste and kitchen scraps, which includes mostly plant materials (except for onions and garlic, which slow the process), egg shells, and coffee grounds.  Another great ingredient for compost is spent grains from the brewery; indeed, some people refer to this as ‘compost starter’.

Bin #1, empty

Not only does composting make good dirt, it also keeps a lot of methane-producing organic matter out of landfills. By creating and using compost, you enrich your soils, reduce water use, and eliminate the need for synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

We don’t grow that much of our own food but the things we do grow certainly “feed” us. We both like to work in the yard. It is meditative, relaxing, and always inspiring to nurture plants and watch them thrive. Now that Aaron’s constructed the last two components of our composting system, we’ll be pleased to nourish the land that feeds us with compost we made.

Bin #1, continuing the process

About Stephanie

I am a mother and a wife, lady scientist, gardener, fabulous cook, foodie, world traveler, and aspiring polymath. I like to ignore stereotypes, challenge the status quo and encourage independent thought.
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