Family composting

first_imgBy Sharon OmahenUniversity of GeorgiaWhen it comes to recycling, you probably sort out glass andplastic products from your householdtrash and maybe even save newspapers for the local Boy Scouttroop. But what about yesterday’sbanana peel and the spent grounds from this morning’s java?Composting your household vegetable and fruit waste is a formof recycling, too. You’re keepingthose items out of the landfill and creating plant food.Compost is the organic matter that remains after microbes havedecomposed your fresh vegetablerinds and grass clippings. It doesn’t sound appealing, but soiland plants think it’s yummy. New habit formed quicklyI was amazed by how quickly I adjusted to composting. For aweek or so, I caught myself headingto the trash can with an apple core or the shriveled remains of ahead of lettuce. But before long, itbecame second nature.I was also surprised by how quickly my daughters latched ontothe concept. My 12-year-old iswholeheartedly into composting. She even questions me as towhether something fits the”composting bill.”She helps me when I break down the veggie remains before I putthem in the bin, too. (I like to speedthe progress along, so I cut my fresh vegetable waste into smallpieces.)My friend Krissy is the queen of composting. She has fourcompost bins in various stages. Shecomposts shredded paper from her office and banana peels andapple cores from her lunches. Sheeven “feeds” her bins paper towels and dryer lint.Her son Jack, a 4-H’er and Boy Scout, is just as dedicated tocomposting. When they enterStarbucks, they leave with a bag of spent coffee grounds.They also love to watch the sides of their compost bins formystery plants. Krissy has a three-foottall avocado plant that got its start in one of her bins. I had anice-sized potato plant in mine until thefirst Georgia frost killed it.For me, the true moment of composting glory was the day my16-year-old daughter slam-dunked abanana peel into the composting collection bucket. No, I wasn’tamazed by her basketball skills. Myamazement and pride came from the fact that she did so of her ownfree will.Now, if I could somehow convince both my girls that picking upafter themselves helps theenvironment. Composting newbieI have to be honest. As a science writer for the University ofGeorgia, I’ve worked aroundagricultural scientists for the past 12 years. But I’m acomposting newbie.When I decided to take the composting plunge, I gathered tipsfrom my veteran-composting friends,all of whom happen to be UGA Cooperative Extension specialists. Ilearned that a compost bin couldbe a large plastic drum, a wire bin or even just a true pile. Youcan put as little or as much moneyand effort into your compost bin as you’d like.Living on a 6-acre homestead in middle Georgia, I have a bitof an advantage over metrohomeowners. I don’t have to worry about whether my bin has curbappeal or is neighbor-friendly.My nearest neighbor is an acre away.I decided to use an old horse trough as my compost bin (yetanother form of recycling). Be sure toplace your bin in a convenient outdoor place. You don’t want itso far removed that using it will bea chore.And since you don’t want to constantly trek back and forthfrom your kitchen to the compost bin,you need a collecting bin indoors. I chose a small plastic bucketthat easily fits under my kitchensink.last_img read more