Wednesday, February 3, 2010

We’re not in Kansas Clermont anymore…

My husband Adam is a dutiful environmentalist. He turns down our thermostat, rides his bike, avidly recycles (of course), and even collects lunch scraps from coworkers to bring home for composting. Despite the fact that we have lived in the city for more than a decade, he is a farm boy at heart and no matter how often I remind/nag him, he always commits one major composting faux pas: he never buries the food waste in the bin.

Growing up with horses, Adam’s family always had a hefty compost pile. The daily chore of bringing kitchen scraps to the pile involved a quarter mile hike behind the horse barn and tossing the scraps on a heap taller than him. There was no point to burying the food waste, I mean who’s going to notice a few rotting vegetables amongst several tons of horse manure, especially when the closest neighbor lives miles down the road?

But when your grill and patio table are only feet away, you want the best smelling compost bin possible. Several times I have noticed flies congregating around the bin or a “garbagy” smell coming from the compost. When I open the lid to investigate, sure enough old broccoli and black banana peels will be staring back at me. But almost as soon as I cover the pile with leaves or shredded paper, the problem goes away.

Taking the time to bury food waste will go a long way in preventing odors, unwanted flying insects, and the occasional curious 4-legged bandit tempted by the smell of an easy meal. Burying food waste can be quite easy. Next to our bin is a three-pronged garden fork (properly called a hand cultivator) which I use to lift up the layer of leaves on top while I tuck the food waste underneath. I also keep a pile of leaves next to the bin and occasionally throw those on top if the layer is thin.

Of course, you won’t hear this girl complaining about a little spousal composting imperfection, I wouldn’t trade him for anyone (not even Brad Pitt- who probably composts perfectly). I’m counting my blessings that he’s willing to take out the kitchen scraps at all.

Now about washing the dishes…

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