10 Exciting Reasons Why I Love to Compost
I Am Still Enjoying My Compost Bin
This is a list of ten fun activities to enjoy while maintaining a compost bin. Get a kick out of the witch's brew pot in the corner of the backyard.
I spotted a book about composting several months ago and I have been wanting to see it. I ordered it from Amazon and now I know even more about composting, and I can tell my adult son the critters in the bin are not that scary. There is no bad bacteria or bugs in it that would harm body or limb. In fact, the bugs are very entertaining.
Can you dig up some fun out of a compost bin?
Enjoying the Compost Bin
I've had this exact model for eight years and have experienced no problems with it. Looks like I will get some additional years of service out of it too. The tower is ideal because it has no mechanical parts to break down.
Some may think their pets would destroy the bin. Put a chain link fence around it or similar closure to keep them out.
The stuff added to this bin turns out a bit lumpy. The final product depends on the material added. If everything is chopped up into smaller pieces get a more uniform compost.
Reason No. 1 Compost Pails & Crocks
A Vessel for the Kitchen Scraps
The kitchen scraps crock was a personal quest. Why get the conventional bucket from the Internet? At first I had a beautiful handmade pottery bowl.
At this time, I am using a plastic popcorn bucket I got as a party favor. The original handle has broken off. I tied on a piece of cord from the waist of an old pair of pants.
I use a silicon suction lid to cover it. The lid works very good for cutting any odors that would otherwise fill the kitchen. Rachael Ray's are prettier.
The lid works like the Rachael Ray lids shown. Rachael Ray Tools and Gadgets Top-This Suction Lid, Small/Medium/Large, Orange, 3-Piece Set
Rachael's are available in four different colors.
Reason No. 2 Composting Gets Me Outside
Once the kitchen bucket is filled I am sure to get a walk outside. A retiree crafting at a desk or visiting the Internet may not get out of the house if activities get too absorbing.
Our climate is very mild and I take my bucket outside almost everyday.
The dog gets excited and I get a walk with him in the backyard.
Reason No. 3 Composting is Good Exercise
The additional exercise of turning the compost for aeration is an excellent upper body workout.
When it is time to harvest compost, shoveling and placing the amendment in the garden is rewarding and very good exercise. Not even boring.
Reason No. 4 The Compost Bin is Interesting and Exciting
My plastic compost bin is like a changing chameleon. A science project in the corner of the yard.
It is interesting to see what works, how it is transforming and how fast. Heat, mold, fungus and bugs are some of the changing activity in the composting bin.
In the photo to the right is the earwig. Even though their name suggests getting in your ears, they do not. They are about an inch long. Earwigs spend their lives in debris and come out at night to eat aphids and small insects.
These bugs are good for the garden and do not damage plants.
One day different visitors than bugs occupyed the tower. The Beagle and Jack Russell were going crazy. They wanted in the bin and started to dig crazily. I opened the bottom gate and started removing material with the turning fork. Soon 3 rats shot out in three different directions. My daughter came out and told me to stop screaming.
Later I found an expired rat in front of the compost bin. The dogs were triumphant. Now that a rat was lying in such a sad state they could care less.
There has not been such excitement since, but some days I notice field mice have visited the night before. The evidence is short trails and snug looking dens on the surface of the compost. They take advantage of the natural composting heat and the "tasty" materials when they like. They come and go in the dead of night. I never see them during the day.
At top right is a small two inch wide den from a mouse.
Reason No. 5
Use the Bin for Dissolving Important Papers
The paper from the shredder machine does not to go to the city trash. Every piece and printed letter goes in the bin.
As seen on TV: there is a software program that can put shredded documents back together again. Blue Meanies or deep covert organizations can reassemble millions of little shreds.
Put the paper strips and dust from the shredder into the compost bin and in three days, see not a trace of that paper left.
The paper is like adding dried leaves, it's carbon the bin needs.
Reason No. 6
Free Soil Amendment
I am so happy to have mulch or soil amendment handily available and free for the taking.
Reason No. 7
Helping the Environment
The good feeling of doing a small part for the environment. Saving landfill space and creating only CO2 instead of the more harmful methane.
My 94 year old mother has also joined the effort. She saves her kitchen scraps in a sealed bag in the refrigerator till I pick them up every Tuesday. She does not have good water pressure for the disposal and this arrangement is working fine.
Reason No. 8
Use Free Stuff From From A Business
I get to relieve Starbucks of a bag of used coffee grounds. I also get some coffee filters and occasionally banana peels. All good stuff for the bin. The stores give out 5 pound bags. It is moist and always starts lots of gray matter, a good sign that materials are breaking down. I get a bag once a month, adding it over the course of a few days.
I was concerned about acidity but the acid is removed during the brewing process. I will pick up the bag more often now.
A Source of Family Conversations
Our compost bin generates family conversation. Many times it is my lead with the discussions, but sometimes I am surprised that others in the house are interested in what is happening in the corner of the yard.
Also, sparks conversation from visitors. I always talk up the adventures. I do not want newbies of this technology to think it is a scary thing because of critters, smells and bugs. It just produces amendment for good dirt. I never have noxious odors.
Compost Critters by Bianca Lavies - A Book Review
This is the only book I found dedicated to the bugs of the compost heap. It is written and photographed by former National Geographic staff photographer Bianca Lavies.
She has written several other books for children. I believe this one is out of print. All the volumes available on Amazon are used. The one I received is a former public library book.
It is illustrated with big close up photos of the bugs living in backyard compost. One bug I started seeing in my compost bin I found out from this book is a crustacean, from the shrimp or lobster family.
If you are the home schooler this book and a compost heap or bin would be a wonderful science project. According to Amazon the book is written for the 4-8 year old. The information is also useful for older children and the adult that needs some answers.
I learned new facts. I would have enjoyed some detailed captions for the pictures. The next time I watch my 5 year old nephew I will have the perfect book and "dirt" box to show him.
This book is well worth the used price you will be paying for it. Update: a/o 5/30/12 I found 1 copy for 1 cent.
Have You Started Composting for Home School?
As a home schooler have you started a compost bin for a learning project?
Lavies, Bianca. Compost Critters. Text and Photographs by Bianca Lavies. New York, New York: Dutton Children's Books, 1993.
Milne, Lorus and Margery. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders. New York, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc, 1992.
For more information also see How-to Start Composting at Home
© 2010 Sherry Venegas