Now that the growing season is in full swing and new city rules require us to keep food scraps out of the garbage can, do you find yourself with an overflowing yard waste bin each week? If so, perhaps you’ve wondered how hard it would be to convert some of that vegetable matter into lovely compost you can use at home.
The answer: It’s not hard at all. Traditional outdoor compost bins and cones suitable for any kind of plant matter are available at very low cost from the City of Seattle. If you live in an apartment or a house with no yard, an indoor worm bin might be just the thing to handle your less acidic fruits, vegetables and egg shells. Healthy worm bins are odorless and can be purchased or made at home out of a plastic storage container you can keep under the sink. Worms can be bought locally or ordered online.
At my house, we compost small vegetable scraps by throwing them under my bed. Really! The composting units I keep there are very clean, produce nitrogen-rich fertilizer, reduce my blood pressure, and double as alarm clocks. I call this one YoAnna.
For more ideas on how to compost, check out one of these books – Compost: The Natural Way to Make Food for Your Garden, by Ken Thompson; The Complete Compost Gardening Guide, by Barbara Pleasant and Deborah L. Martin; and Diary of a Compost Hotline Operator: Edible Essays on City Farming, by Spring Gillard. Composting classes and instruction sheets are available from the local non-profit Seattle Tilth.
If you have kids, turn a worm bin into a fun science project you can do together. Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Appelhof will get your family started.
The truly adventurous can take composting to even greater heights! Browse through The Humanure Handbook, by Joseph Jenkins and The Composting Toilet System Book, by David del Porto and Carol Steinfeld.