What’s that smell?!

31 Aug

So, I said in my last post that I’d write about my compost pile.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia>Compost

Well, it’s been a journey, let’s just say that…

I started said compost this winter, with the purchase of a garbage can at Target. Now, you can get really spendy with your compost bin. They have these crazy-shaped round monstrosities, but I wanted to stick with something simple (and cheap). You know what? I stand behind my choice. I just use plastic grocery bags as a liner (but always ALWAYS check for holes beforehand), and make sure the lid is firmly tight. But all spring and winter, the garbage can worked perfectly, and it will again. But right now, fruit flies are driving me and Chris crazy, so we’re keeping the compost in an old tupperware container in the fridge and emptying it every couple days.

However, the smell when emptying the compost bin is another story. I have to hold my breath, and I still gag. Ugh, nothing is a worse smell than the combination of banana peels, radish ends, egg shells, and kiwi skins.

Quiz! What can’t you put in a compost?

Answer: animal by-products! Or vegetables that have touched animal by-products! Or corn cobs! Some people use a specific 3 browns (grass, leaves) to 1 green (vegetable products) ratio, but…I don’t try that hard. And mine still works. You have to keep it wet, though! I empty my dehumidifier into the compost pile to keep it moist when it hasn’t rained in awhile.

Luckily for me, Betty and her husband (whose name we don’t know, so he’ll just be Betty’s husband from now on, or we could call him Peanut Eater, as his peanut shells can still be found all over the backyard–those things don’t break down!) already had a sweet two-compartment compost bin. For those of you who aren’t compost savvy, you need two compartments for your compost: one for the old stuff, one for the new stuff. Then, the old stuff is ready for you to put on your garden while the new stuff is still decomposing and readying itself. The compost bin is falling apart in some spots and needs to be tuned up a bit, but that’s a later project.

Early this summer, I had my first compost harvest and used it on my beans and tomatoes. And those beans=delicious! The tomatoes=pure beauty!! Oh, the tomatoes! I could write a song for them. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten tomatoes so amazing.

But since then, disaster has struck. A family of bees have made their home in one-half of my compost bin. Which, explains my bee sting this weekend. I know, I know–I should’ve stayed away. My mom told me to leave it alone for the rest of the year, but I was just working on the other half! They didn’t live there yet! But, it didn’t matter. I made those bees angry, and I don’t think I’m welcome back. But they’ll see…next spring, that compost is mine! And just think how rich and beautiful that soil will be…

Oh, and of course, wikiHow has a post on how to compost.

Ok, Mom (and you other composters), please tell me what else I shouldn’t put in the compost. I know the banana stickers don’t belong there, but, honestly, I’m too lazy to remember to take them off.

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One Response to “What’s that smell?!”

  1. katey lee September 6, 2010 at 8:56 am #

    Jenna! We’re composting too! Well we’re not very good about keeping it wet so its been a slow process for us. You can not put anything that has been touched by oil in your compost either. And poultry poop is actually good for your compost (high nitrogen!) – if you ever have poultry poop laying around.

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