Composting–Part I

It’s been a mixed (and likely fairly typical) year out in the garden.  I had great success with my free tomato plants and now have a little row of these in my kitchen almost daily:

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I’ve also had some less successful moments.  How about that time I tried to dig a garden bed and hit a slab of rock?  That was awesome.  *sigh*

So…mixed results.  That’s ok!  It’s all part of the learning process, right?  Live and learn.  And now, on to the next garden project:  a compost bin.  We’re not headed straight out to make a pile yet though – there’s some other re-arranging to be done first.

The Shaklee-Sherman household recently become so hip and green that it’s almost painful.  Our municipality introduced curbside recycling bins at the beginning of September.

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Pretty swanky, eh?  Now we’re dutifully sorting trash from recyclables:

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Yes, we had to post a list detailing what can or can’t go in the recycling bin.  We’re new to this!  I remember standing in a friend’s kitchen in San Francisco (where they are like, legally mandated to recycle) with my hand hovering above a pail thinking “Oh piddle!  They’ll get a ticket if I can’t figure out where the heck this can goes!”  We obviously needed direction.

So!  The recyclable materials are now being recycled.  On to food scraps!  I am so excited to introduce my kitchen’s newest accessory, my DIY compost canister:

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Ooh!  Ahh!  So lovely!

I knew I wanted a compost pail on my counter but I had about $0 to spend on it.  I Googled around and found this project using a coffee container that looked pretty easy.  Jason had access to a canister from his office so I snagged it.  He lobbied to leave the thing Folgers Red, but I figured if a guest in our home thought they were opening a can of coffee, stuck their nose down in it, breathed deeply, and got a whiff of yesterday’s food trimmings instead of dark roast that they might never come back.  Ever.  So I wanted to make this clearly not a coffee container any more.  Spray paint is my best friend and helped me out.

I did buy some cut-to-fit carbon filter (with a Lowes gift card – Thanks Christine!) to place inside the lid to help keep odors under control.  So far it seems to be working.

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Before:

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After:

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Isn’t it cute?  I’m taking suggestions for what to label it with – “Compost” or “Worm Food” or “Scraps” or something else clever?  I was looking around for like, an international symbol for composting but didn’t have much luck.

Ok, so this project’s done, right?  Uh, not quite.  I need somewhere to take these lovely food scraps and dump them.  Composting: Part II coming up later this week!

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7 thoughts on “Composting–Part I

  1. Hi, a thoughtful reader visiting from Apartment Therapy. I really like your DIY compost bin…it’s attractive and hides the scraps and smell!

    1. I should do a follow up post…it’s working beautifully except for the one time I let it get too full, the food touched the carbon filter, and the filter started growing mold. As long as I only let it get about 3/4 full, it’s perfect!

  2. Composting. Now you’re speaking my language. This is great. I used to keep my compost in the freezer because that was all my roommates would allow. They were afraid it would attract bugs otherwise. It gets pretty slimey when you do that, but the place I took it prefered it that way. I visited a friend in San Francisco last week, and they kept their compost in an old ice bucket on the counter. I’m just sharing in case you decide to step up to something bigger at some point (the painted Folgers container is cute though). My advice is to cut all of your scraps up as small as possible. They will compost faster. I’ve even thought maybe I should put mine in a food processor, to get it really tiny.

    1. I’ve been putting some of my left over onion, carrot, and celery in the freezer but not to compost! I read that I can keep it in the freezer until I’m ready to make stock (chicken, veggie, or beef!) I’ll let you know how that goes! …and in other news, the filter seems to really be keeping the smell under control.

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