Monday, June 20, 2011

Bringing Back the Romance

I have a real confession to make this week. For almost three months I sadly neglected my compost bin. No turning, no assessing the moisture level, no balancing the carbon and nitrogen. The poor guy only saw me for a few fleeting minutes a week to drop off the kitchen scraps. If you find your bin in the same neglected state, here is how to add some heat back into your relationship.

Assess the Situation
Is the bin giving you the cold shoulder with no sign of decomposition in the dry stale mass? Or is the pile too wet and slimy, slowly rotting away? My bin had the worst of both worlds with a too wet soupy mess on the bottom and a thick layer of petrified flower stems on top.

Make the First Move
Turning the pile adds oxygen which is the surest way to speed up the decomposition. As you mix up the pile, add water or moist material to a dry bin or add shredded leaves and paper to a bin that is too wet . The pile should be about as wet as a wrung out sponge.

Luckily, all I had to do was mix the wet and dry layers in my bin. Once the moisture was balanced and oxygen was introduced, the pile really heated up and dropped six inches in a week.

Feel the Love
The great thing about compost bins is that, unlike our human relationships, they don’t require much affection. You can completely forget about a compost bin and he will still give you gifts (although more slowly).

Now that I’ve made up with my very forgiving compost bin, I think I’ll try to keep the romance alive. Which do you think he would like better, an old bouquet of flowers or a rotting fruit basket?


  1. Hmmm, I never thought about a "relationship" with my compost! Thanks for sharing the love! LOL!

  2. Another great post! (I'd give him the rotting fruit.)

  3. Definitely, the rotting fruit. But I worry about attracting rats. So I don't put anything in my compost but leaves, dirt, grass and weeds.

  4. I've always just buried the food waste and used a locking lid. Seems to keep out rats, racoons, and other critters.

  5. I'd go for the rotting fruit.

    One fall I had lots of it and it was all composted. Next spring it went on my potatoes. That fall I had the best tasting potatoes I'd ever eaten.

    The next year all my fruit had been killed off by late frosts. I had no fruit to compost. That years potatoes tasted bland.

    Conclusion; I'm all for enriching a compost pile with fruit and the more the better. I think it increases the natural sugars in the veggies we eat from our garden. Of course I could be wrong.