Friday, October 28, 2022

Mothman’s Advice for Compost Maintenance


Mysterious, elusive, and nocturnal with glowing red eyes and large wings, the Mothman is not only my favorite cryptid but surely, he has the best compost around. So, I caught up with him in a moonlit farm field in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, and gleaned a few tips on maintaining your backyard compost bin.

Illustration credit: Tim Bertelink

  1. Stay out of sight- the Mothman has only been spotted a few times, and your neighbors will appreciate if you take that approach with your compost bin. Tuck it into an out of the way spot in your yard to avoid unwanted attention.
  2. Keep it big- the Mothman was reported to have an impressive 10-foot wingspan. You don’t have to go quite that large with your compost pile but keeping it to a 3’ x 3’ x 3' size will help it heat up. If you compost in a bin, you want to try and fill the bin at least halfway for the best decomposition results.
  3. Celebrate your fascination- every year thousands of people congregate at the Mothman Festival. You can show your love of composting with one of our I Heart Compost magnets. Hamilton County residents can have one for free- just send me an email.


You may not fly behind cars of teenagers with glowing red eyes or stalk fireman through farm fields, but you can take the Mothman’s advice to improve your backyard composting. And while you are unlikely to encounter the actual Mothman in your backyard, you will attract lots of real macroinvertebrates to snack on your food scraps.

Happy Halloween, composters! If you like Halloween and composting as much as me, check out previous year’s posts:

·                  Did the Boogeyman Snatch Your Compost Blogger?

·                  Fall Composting Tips from a Mummy 

·                  The Headless Horseman’s Guide to Backyard Composting 

·                  Compost Lessons from the Swamp Monster 

·                  Three Reasons Werewolves Make Terrible Composters 

·                  Compost Ghost 

·                  Was Frankenstein an Outstanding Composter? 

·                  How to Practice Compost Witchcraft 

·                  Compost Like a Vampire 

·                  Three Warning Signs Your Compost is a Zombie 

·                  Smashing Pumpkins 

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Move Over Summer, It’s Fall Y’all


I have to admit, I feel a bit of denial that summer is over. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE fall- weather nice for hanging outside and camping, beautiful leaves, my birthday…but I haven’t quite wrapped my head around the fact that the swimming and popsicle days are over.

Regardless of my mental space, summer is wrapping up and that means it’s time to make room in your compost bin for the onslaught of leaves coming our way. In my opinion, fall is an excellent time to harvest your finished compost. Place the finished compost on your beds you hope to plant in the spring or around trees you are planting this fall.

With all the finished stuff moved out, you will have more room for leaves. Another tip I use is to create a few wire leaf bins to hold the leaves over winter. By spring the leaf pile will have reduced in half and you can condense the bins to make room for spring plants.

My wire leaf bin in spring

Building a Wire Leaf Bin

1.      First, measure about 10 feet of wire fencing. I like welded wire fencing, but you can use chicken wire or anything else you have laying around.

2.      Roll the fence into a cylinder with at least 3 feet circumference.

3.      Secure the ends with zip ties, wire, or something similar.

4.      Depending on your fencing, you may need some stakes to keep the shape of the bin. My welded wire fencing does not need this support.

And that’s it. You can fit about 4-5 leave bags full in these bins and it is shocking how fast they decompose and settle .

Well, just thinking about leaves has me a little more ready to accept the changing seasons.

Happy fall, y’all.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Doggone Composting!

Guest Blogger: Joy Landry, Communications Specialist, with a little help from her furry and feathered friends!

As summer approaches, those readers who have dogs may be experiencing flying fur as their pups shed in preparation of hotter days to come. My Labrador Golden Retriever cross is shedding with every step she takes. The solution is to take her outside daily for a good brushing. 

Quite by accident, I discovered a natural reuse opportunity for my dog’s fur. As I was brushing her out recently, the breeze picked up errant furs and spread them around the driveway. Within minutes, the house sparrows fluttered down and started collecting the dog hair for their nests

We had more fur than the birds needed. So what to do with the excess? I put it in my compost pile. That’s right, your dog’s fur is an organic material perfectly acceptable for composting. Don’t take my word for it – even the American Kennel Club endorses composting fur!

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Hamilton County Compost Bin Sale


Happy International Compost Awareness Week!

Need a new compost bin or know someone who is searching for a new one?   Look no further!  Hamilton County R3Source will be hosting its annual Compost Bin Sale in exactly one month!

Day: Saturday, June 4th

Time: 8:00am-1:00pm

Location: Colerain Township Senior and Community Center

Address: 4300 Springdale Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45251


Preorder your new compost bin on the Compost Bin Sale Website and it will be ready for you to pick up on June 4th.


If you or a friend would like to receive a special discount code for $20 off a compost bin, we encourage you all to attend one of our upcoming Compost Seminars!


In-Person Seminars

May 12 – 6:30pm @ Reading City Hall 

May 17 – 7:00pm @ Forest Park Senior Center 


Here is the link to register for an In-Person Seminar. 


Virtual Seminar

May 31 – 12:00pm on Zoom


Here is the link to the register for the Virtual Seminar. 


Please share this information with everyone you know!  It could be a sign for someone who has been considering composting to take the leap and get started. 😊

Guest Blogger Elise Erhart

Friday, March 18, 2022

Compost Seminars are Back!

Those of you who read this blog are most likely familiar with composting, so this is a request to spread the word to all your family, friends, and coworkers that our annual Get the Dirt on Backyard Composting seminars are back.

We are excited to announce that we will have in-person seminars for the first time in 2 years!  There will also be virtual seminars for those who prefer that option.

Seminars will be 1 hour with a presentation and Q&A time. We will discuss the benefits of composting, how to start, how to properly maintain the compost, how to troubleshoot any problems, and how to use the compost at home. All attendees will receive a free kitchen scrap collector, a magnet, and a composting booklet!


In-Person Backyard Composting Seminars

  • April 14 – 6:30pm @ California Woods Nature Center
  • April 21 – 6:30pm @ Colerain Senior & Community Center
  • April 26 – 6:30pm @ Civic Garden Center
  • May 12 – 6:30pm @ Reading City Hall
  • May 17 – 7:00pm @ Forest Park Senior Center

 Here is the link to the registration page for In-Person Seminars.


Virtual Backyard Composting Seminars

  • May 3 – 6:30pm on Zoom
  • May 31 – 12:00pm on Zoom

Here is the link to the registration page for Virtual Seminars.


Please share this information with anyone you know so that we can encourage and inspire the whole county to start composting (and to do it the right way)!


Guest Blogger Elise Erhart


Friday, October 29, 2021

Did the Boogeyman Snatch Your Compost Blogger?

When I was a kid, few things were creepier to me than the idea of a formless creature lurking under my bed ready to snatch me away to a nameless place never to be seen again. Maybe that was the scariest thing about the boogeyman - what does he look like? He can be lurking in any dark quiet place, just watching and waiting… 

But, alas, the Boogeyman never did make an appearance in my childhood, and I can’t use him as an excuse for the absence of this blog either. I’ve just been really, really busy with other waste reduction stuff. So sorry for blogging sabbatical, my fellow composters. I still very much care about you and composting! 

Since I’m here to continue the great Halloween blogging tradition, let me give you composting tips straight from the Boogeyman himself. 

  1. Be patient: if the Boogeyman can wait for years quietly peeking from your slightly open closet door you can wait six months while your compost does its thing. Your beautiful, finished compost will be worth the wait. 
  2. Remove expectations: No one really knows what the Boogeyman looks like which makes him even scarier. We are left creating the scariest being our own imagination can conjure. In the same way, composting can look different for each person depending on the bin you use, the size of your yard, and what you want to compost. You do you - don’t worry about anyone else. 
  3. Involve the children: the Boogeyman steals misbehaving children from their homes (apparently in the 1500’s utter terror was considered a great parenting technique to keep your kids in line). Rather than a scary, permanent, punishment, compost can be a way to foster kids’ interest in biology and the natural world
Need more Halloween composting goodness? Here are our past blogs: 

Happy Halloween!

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Hybrid in My Compost?

The weather is great for planting our gardens, but I never expected to raise the lid of my compost bin to see a hybrid developing. A Hybrid? And here I didn’t think I could even afford one.

Remember putting seeds (especially weeds with seeds) in your compost is risky since our backyard bins don’t heat up enough to guarantee that the seeds won’t germinate. Many of us have experienced a variety of volunteers popping up in patio pots, garden beds and other places we’ve spread and mixed compost with our soil.

Never though had I seen a plant like this one…

My Hybrid "Eggplant" 😀

My bean sprouts, no longer edible, decided an eggshell was the perfect spot to develop! Mother Nature does love to entertain us and I thank her for all the smiles.

Guest blogger/ Accidental Gardener Jenny Lohmann