Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dirt to Compost

Our gardening experiment is going strong.  We have 16 lettuce sprouts, 12 carrot sprouts and 2 potato plants sprouting!  

Last fall, after a discussion on the smell of compost, our neighbor encouraged us to try a small scale compost experiment.  We used what we had on hand; a recycled ice cream bucket, backyard dirt, kitchen scraps and a little water.  Occasionally we would think to add a grape stem or an apple core, but mostly  we forgot about it until our recent planting.  I opened the lid and found black, rich soil.  Not only did we successfully create compost, it was not smelly.

We excitedly tried composting again with another bucket.  Our original bucket was brittle and cracking after spending months in the sun, so we started with a fresh one.  We have been more diligent with adding our kitchen scraps and our bucket was full after about a week.

Here's our simple steps to turning dirt to compost:

  • Start with a cleaned out bucket.
  • Add about an inch of dirt on the bottom.
  • Add kitchen scraps.  We used lettuce and a banana peel.
  • Add another inch of dirt.
  • Moisten dirt.
  • Cover with the lid and shake it up a bit.
The one we started last week had quite a bit of kitchen scraps compared to dirt and it was a little smelly when the lid was open.  I'm adding more dirt and water after every addition, hopefully it will help the smell issue.  Also, kitchen scraps need to include only plant material, like potato peels and celery ends.   

What successes or challenges have you had with composting?

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