I’m a lazy composter. It seems the amount I know about composting the less actual composting I do. I want to be a rock star composter, really, I do. But, I am not committed to it (yet).
Blame the city. The city has made it too easy for me to be lazy.
- In 2006, the City of Seattle began allowing vegetative food scraps in the yard waste.*
- In 2009, Seattle began accepting all food scraps. All of it! Meat. Dairy. Bones. And food-soiled paper (think greasy pizza boxes and the like).*
The down side of this meant I needed an indoor compost bucket for my compost (things that would easily break down) and another for things I’d rather send to the city (pineapple tops, for example). This got confusing, so I pretty much gave up on home food scrap composting. Then we got chickens. Chickens are what sent me to I-will-not-even-pretend-to-compost-food-scraps territory.
*Curious where all that waste goes? Cedar Grove Compost, which has the most advanced food/yard waste set up in the country.
Chickens offer up copious amounts of compost material (poop)… but adding another sorting scrap sorting bucket? An indoor bucket for the city, another for our own compost, plus a bucket for the chickens? No way! Too much sorting. Too many options. Now I put everything in the city yard/food waste except things I can easily give to the chickens.
Enter the Seattle Tilth Master Composter/Soil Builder program. Designed as a volunteer program and “a key partner in Seattle’s waste reduction and recycling efforts. (We) help city residents to recycle food and yard waste at their homes, build healthy urban soils and support thriving landscapes throughout the city.” The program began in 1985 and is funded by Seattle Public Utilities. Pretty great, right?
So, over the next few weeks I’ll teach you a few things I learn along the way. And I’ll probably ‘fess up to some more garden secrets I have. And, hopefully, I’ll get some worms.
Tips from Week 1:
- Easy way to check your soil texture.
- To make compost you need air, water, and organic material.
- Items for compost need to be cut or shredded into small pieces ~ 1 inch
- Moisture level of compost should feel like a wrung-out sponge. If it is dripping with moisture, it is too wet.
- The answer to compost that is too wet or too compacted is to turn it.
- A mixture of “browns” (carbon-rich) and “greens”(nitrogen-rich) is necessary. You can get bogged down in the science of ratios and percentages, but (at least for now) the important thing is to have some of both.
- Helpful Information: City of Seattle’s Guide to Composting Yard and Food Waste at Home and Seattle Tilth on Compost