Committing to compost

IMGP5751If you ask my mom, she’ll tell you that I was very much the tomboy growing up. I would sweat playing basketball, catch lizards and lovebugs in the backyard and drown myself in Cheetos and Mountain Dew while playing video games with my brother and his friends. Despite all that, I’m very particular when it comes to gross things, like old food.

It’s not necessarily spoiled or rotten foods, but things like apple cores and dinner remains left on a plate for a half hour give me the heebie jeebies.

Which makes perfect sense when I tell you that I’ve decided to try composting.

To be honest, I’ve always thought composting was a weird and slightly disgusting thing to do. I’ve always heard that it is good for plants and the environment, but the idea of letting food rot in a bucket for some time and then dumping it all over the food I’m growing to eat just made my stomach turn. But since I’ve committed myself to a garden this year, I figured it might be worthwhile (and entertaining for you) to commit myself completely and join in this weird world of composting.

The first step in my composting journey was to do enough research to convince myself that it’s not a gross activity. I kind of succeeded, but old habits and feelings die hard. Some facts I learned to ease my stomach included:
– Composting is good for the garden, providing organic matter and nutrients to the soil which will improve plant growth and give better yields.
– Composting reduces your environmental impact, preventing landfill buildups by using nature’s natural recycling process and avoiding chemical fertilizers in the garden.
– Composting saves resources by helping with moisture retention and keeping landfills from overflowing.
– Composting saves money. It’s free. Need I say more?

Now I’m not a huge environmentalist or anything (I confess that I’m sometimes guilty of not recycling the occasional water bottle), but the fact that composting can save me money and give me better produce was more than enough reason to give it a shot.
Because I’m still skeptical about throwing old food in a large bin in the backyard and letting it bake in the sun for a few weeks, I decided to start really small (and cheap) with my composting project. My first compost container is an old coffee tin. Another lengthy Google search instructed me to drill holes in the lid and evenly mix my green matter (vegetable scraps and other materials that are nitrogen rich) with brown matter (hay, leaves, and shredded newspaper for carbon). I don’t want to attract mice, so I opted to keep my coffee tin outside in a shaded area with the rest of my gardening supplies.

Supposedly, red worms are great allies in the composting process; however, worms are gross to touch so I’m still debating how necessary they are right now.

For now, it doesn’t seem too weird or time consuming. I am nervous that I won’t do this whole composting thing right and instead end up with a tin of smelly, rotten food that I don’t want to go near. But so far so good. I’ll keep doing my research and looking for tips. Who knows, maybe I’ll get over my fear of whatever it is I’m afraid of with old food and become a better composter and thus gardener.



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