The amount of pride my full-to-the-top kitchen compost bucket generates in me is rather ridiculous. That happy feeling warms my soul as I scramble into boots, parka, hat, gloves and scarf and prepare to set out on the trek to Behind the Barn, where the big square composter dwells, to empty my little kitchen bucket. Why should I feel so pleased with doing something that is so easy, so good for the garden, and so good for the earth?
Composting is simple. I know, not everyone thinks so. There are books, big books even (The Complete Book of Composting by Rodale clocks in at over 1000 pages!) on the subject of composting, but you don’t need to read them before launching off on your own compost adventure. You need a simple bin of some sort, which you can purchase or, if you are a little handy and creative, pretty easily make your own. For gathering up kitchen waste, you need some sort of bucket. We used various plastic buckets in the past, but our stainless steel bucket with lid has proven to be a great purchase. And actually, a good deal of the year, we don’t even use the lid. The lid is handy during the summer months to discourage fruit flies, for example, but in the winter, that’s not an issue where we live. Our kitchen is cool. Kitchen scraps of the vegetable type do not smell either, if they are emptied regularly, just like the garbage. Again, we don’t put meat or fat or dairy of any kind into our compost– just the green bits.
Composting keeps organic waste out of the landfill. Every bucket of kitchen waste that goes into my compost is a bucket saved from the landfill. This week, our kitchen bin is topped up with coffee grounds, clementine peels, green bean ends, tea bags, banana skins, potato peels, pomegranate peel and pitch. It’s amazing how much organic waste can be saved from helping fill up the landfill with just a little effort. Likewise, our grass clippings and leaves stay on location and participate in the circle of life by mixing with kitchen scraps and decomposing together in our compost bins.
Compost feeds our garden. The end result of composting is a nutrient-rich, loamy, home-made, virtually free soil that we can dig into the garden beds, mix with dirt or use straight up for starting seeds or transplanting plants, or add to holes to feed plant roots when we are dropping seedlings into the ground in the spring. We live in an area with lots of clay in the soil, but Jim is fond of saying that our continuous addition of compost and other organic material has transformed our soil from chocolate fudge to chocolate cake. It’s an apt comparison for sure.
Although I love my compost year-round, my love is stronger and more profuse in the winter time. When my garden is a snow-covered landscape comprised of interesting swirls and mounds, my compost bucket is the anchor that holds on to my dream of lovely green growing things.