Simple Composting

Compost in BarrelWe don’t put any food into our trash can.

The main reason we choose not to put food into the trash is because those scraps are valuable, as food for our chickens and as rich compost! A bonus of not putting food into the trash can, the trash doesn’t smell!

Our priority is to prevent food waste and not have much to throw out but there are peels, seeds, cores and bones that are inedible.

The scraps we do have fall into 3 categories:

  1. Scraps for chickens
  2. Scraps for composting
  3. Other scraps (like bones/cooked foods) which go to a pile in our woods

Starting to compost can be intimidating because there’s the fear of the smell of collecting food scraps in the kitchen. Plus, many people think they need a fancy kitchen collection container and an elaborate composting system outside. You don’t need these things to begin. Composting really can be simple!

Here’s our simple composting system:

Compost Bowl

We keep a bowl on our kitchen counter to collect scraps to go to compost. We only put peels, seeds, cores and uncooked food into this bowl (no meat or cooked foods).

Full Compost Bowl

Once the bowl fills up, it’s time to carry it outside. We dump the bowl an average of once a day (some days we’ll go two days before dumping, other days we fill up two bowls to carry out).

Compost Barrel

Once the bowl fills, we bring it  out to our compost barrel and place it inside the barrel.

We have the barrel to speed up the ‘cooking’ process for our compost but it’s not necessary.

You can just dump your kitchen scraps in a pile outside, you do not need anything fancy and don’t have to spend a dime to start composting!

Compost in Barrel

The compost barrel contains the scraps that are breaking down into rich compost.

If you look closely, you can see scraps of denim and a piece of leather. I cut up a pair of old jeans and a leather notebook cover and am experimenting with composting them!

Growing in Compost

Underneath our compost barrel is broken down pile of compost. It does not have a bad odor, it just has a rich, earthy odor to it. And, you’ll notice there are things growing in it, I’m pretty sure these are cantaloupe plants which excites me!

Composting really can be simple. All you need is a bowl to collect scraps and a spot in your yard to dump them!

responses to “Simple Composting” 9

  1. I really want to do this more but I feel like it is always too cold here! I read about composting inside with 5 gallon pails and sawdust but we still had a smell – do you do it inside during the winter? Winter is 3/4 of the year here… It just snow yesterday!

    Are you going to post about your goats?!!! Are they for milk and meat? We have been talking about getting some but the cost of feed is so high right now (beacuse of the drought last summer) that it would cost us more money then if we were to buy milk/meat/butter/cheese. I bet with your very short winters they can eat more grass there!

    1. I've never lived in a very cold climate so I don't know much about composting when it's cold more than it is warm. We dump everything into our compost barrel year round – sure it breaks down slower in the winter months but it still is breaking down since our winter is mostly above freezing. Years ago, when we lived in an apartment and starting living more 'green', we came across the NatureMill indoor composter <a href="http:// (http://naturemill.com/)” target=”_blank”> <a href="http://(http://naturemill.com/)” target=”_blank”>(http://naturemill.com/) which was a contained composter that kept the smell down while composting. We loved the concept and wanted one but they're so expensive! It's possible there are less expensive, similar options out there!

      Regarding the goats, they're Nigerian Dwarf Goats, a dairy breed. Our primary motivation was that they eat grass and brush! We're hoping to not have to mow as much thanks to the goats plus we have a wooded area that we want to clear out a bit and goats love helping with that! And, a bonus is once she kids (in early fall), we'll have milk! We don't purchase feed for the goats, they just graze (and love eating dried leaves that fall out of our trees…especially our magnolia!) Once again, living in the south helps keep the feed costs low verus living up north.

  2. We keep our compost in the freezer (we just have two buckets in there at all times) which we love because we no longer attract fruit flies in the warmer months. We tried worm composting in our apartment but it kind of fizzled out so we just throw all our scraps in the woods. Works for us since we're temporary in this apartment and won't be gardening here at any point in the future. We just like avoiding putting our food scraps into a landfill where they won't decompose even though they do in nature in weeks/days. http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/gr

    1. Keeping the compost in the freezer really is quite brilliant! I'll remember that once it warms up here and there are fruit flies annoying me. And, throwing your scraps out in the woods is definitely better than putting it in the trash and sending it to the landfill.

  3. Great post! I had never seen a composting barrel! Will you relocate it so that your cantaloupes can thrive?

    I plan on posting soon (www.IntentionallySmall.com) about my composting experiments in a downtown, urban setting. I've tried vermicomposting (worms!) in a bin under my kitchen cabinet. Now we signed up for a residential composting pickup service – Compost Now (http://compostnow.org), a local start-up business run by friends – and it's awesome!

    1. I think we're going to leave everything as it for now, the barrel is less than 25% full so we have a lot more we can add before it needs dumping. I'm really hoping the cantaloupes will grow well in the fertile compost and there is plenty of room for them to grow out around that area…we'll see how it goes though! And, I just visited the Compost Now website…wow! That really is awesome, perfect for apartment/condo dwellers!

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