By Corena Killian
I am one of those people who, with good intentions and research, will embark on a project only to have it turn out crappy. I am not artsy. I am not creative. I have a hard time keeping green things alive (case in point, my aloe vera plant – one of the easiest house plants to grow and maintain – is dying). So you could have knocked me over with a feather when we went out and dug through our compost pile and found that we had managed to produce, with very little effort or attention at all, a substantial amount of beautiful, glorious, micro-nutrient rich, free-to-us, actual, honest-to-goodness, 100% household-generated compost!!! It may well be the most satisfying personal project I have ever accomplished!
Satisfying because we used our own food scraps, lawn clippings, fallen leaves, unused cardboard boxes, and kitty litter (we use all-natural pine pellets which break down to sawdust rather than clay; and we scoop and flush the 💩, because that’s not compostable). We supplemented it with llama 💩and straw from a friend. And that is basically it. At times, we had a heaping pile of plant material. But through the fall and winter, that all broke down as we continued to add our veggie and fruit scraps, stale bread, egg shells, spent bones and veggies from multiple batches of chicken stock (great for adding calcium minerals to compost), etc.
Satisfying because we diverted almost all of our household food waste away from the landfill. Did you know that nearly 25% of landfill material is food waste?!? And that food waste in landfills generates methane – a greenhouse gas 23x more potent than carbon dioxide? And that landfills account for 34% of all methane emissions is the US? This is why I’m doing everything I can to keep my food waste in my own back yard where I can use it to make the planet healthier, not to mention that it will hopefully serve to make our family healthier too with all of the amazing veggies we hope to grow with it!
We’ve already gotten “volunteers“ growing in the compost. Potatoes for sure. But other things too! Garlic, and something from the pumpkin/squash and/or cucumber family – it’s a little too soon to tell, so we’re guessing based on the appearance of the sprouts and the seed shells they sprouted from.
I surprised myself with my absolute giddyness over the phenomenal number of worms thriving in our compost. That is a sure sign that it is healthy and full of micronutrients.
This compost project has left me feeling very empowered! I hope to be sharing with you in a few months how successful our garden is as a result of this effort. Fingers crossed! 🤞