Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Was Frankenstein an Outstanding Composter?

The young ambitious Victor Frankenstein allowed his curiosity and scientific pursuit to lead down a dark path of questionable morals while pushing the boundaries of humanity. What if young Frankenstein had chosen to advance the science of composting instead?

In honor of the best holiday of the year (in my humble opinion), I’ve imagined this classic horror novel character as a master composter and I think he would have been fantastic.
Victor Frankenstein
Frankenstein's monster

Science. Dr. Frankenstein, the quintessential genius mad scientist, certainly would have applied his knowledge to composting. From the pH of a compost pile,  to balancing carbon and nitrogen, to the benefits of composting (including happiness), a basic understanding of science helps one to understand composting too. 

Frankenstein no doubt would have improved upon our current methods. Possibly with lightning rods and the meticulous selection of what goes into the bin?

Two is better. Although reluctant, Frankenstein made a companion for his first lonely creation. His single compost bin would be lonely too. Making a second would have made Victor’s job of harvesting way easier because one bin could be “cooking” while he was adding material to the other. I like to think that the marriage between Frankenstein’s two compost bins would have worked out much better than his two monsters.

New “life” to the dead. Frankenstein could have applied his interest in the reanimation of human body parts to giving dead vegetable scraps and leaves a new life as a very useful soil amendment. He would not have been as horrified harvesting the rich brown finished compost as he was when he first laid eyes on his monster.

Perhaps Victor Frankenstein should have chosen composting as an obsession rather than the reanimation of human corpses. The chances of his compost bin becoming a homicidal monster were very low and composting results in virtually no self-loathing or regret. Although, I doubt Mary Shelley would have sold quite as many copies of Frankenstein: a Modern Composter.

I’ll leave you with a disturbing, Halloween-appropriate quote from Frankenstein’s monster:

There is love in me the likes of which you've never seen. There is rage in me the likes of which should never escape. If I am not satisfied in the one, I will indulge the other.” –Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus

Past Halloween Blog Posts:
How to Practice Compost Witchcraft
Compost Like a Vampire
Three Warning Signs Your Compost is a Zombie
Smashing Pumpkins

Happy Halloween, my fellow frankencomposters.
Poor guy just wanted someone to love.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Proof is in the Compost Pudding

When our fellow-composter Lesley attended a Get the Dirt on Backyard Composting class a few years ago she had no idea it would result in this beautiful compost.

The class, attended by mostly new or soon-to-be-new composters, gives the basics of backyard composting. During the composting class someone asked the presenter if her compost really looked like the picture on the front of the brochure. 
"Yes, because I screen it," said the presenter, giving a quick explanation of how to screen your compost.
A few minutes later came the drawing for the door prize: a brand new custom built compost screener. Lesley was at the edge of her seat with anticipation. If only she could win that screener, she could start having beautiful compost just like in the photo. 
The presenter announced that under someone's chair was a special card meaning they won the screener. Lesley reached under her chair and found...nothing. Someone else gleefully stood up to claim their prize.
But Lesley's story does have a happy ending. Later she found our blog post with instructions on how to make a screener and guess what Lesley's husband made her for Christmas?  A deluxe compost screener with handles!

What's more American than a beautiful DIY compost screener!?!
Here is what she has to say: "Wow - screening works!  My compost looks like rich dark topsoil. I am so happy and so is my garden!"

Thanks for sharing your great success story, Lesley, and for the lovely photos! :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Composting Hack: Shrink Your Leaves with this Simple Trick

Submitted by guest blogger Brad Miller
I have only been composting a couple of years now so I was excited when they asked me to write a blog post. Fall is a great time for composting since it provides my compost pile with a large amount of leaves.
Brad's inner child playing in leaves.
These leaves allow me to mix my food waste and coffee grounds into the pile throughout the winter and spring. Any extra leaves I have are bagged and used in the spring and summer.
One thing I have learned in my short time composting is that oak leaves break down much slower than other leaves. If you have a lot of oak leaves, try mulching them with your mower first to help them break down quicker when put in your compost pile/bin.
Here is a great video explaining how to mulch your leaves with a mower:
Do you have more leaves than you can handle or are you looking for more leaves? Consider joining the Greater Cincinnati Leaf Exchange Facebook group to connect with your neighbors.