It’s Earth Day! I spent some time thinking about how to commemorate it, and I decided that the obvious choice for Earth Day would be to talk about making earth. As in soil. That’s right, I’m talking about everyone’s favourite method for disposing of kitchen scraps, composting.
We got our composter back in July of 2004. We bought a compost bucket to go along with it and started saving up our kitchen scraps right away. I was surprised at some of the things that are compostable. I’d always known you could compost apple cores and carrot peelings, but who knew about paper, tea bags, and hair? (OK, probably lots of people, but I didn’t!)
Full compost bucket
For the first few months, I was very diligent about composting. I was out there every few days, I monitored my ‘green’ and ‘brown’ ratios, and I stirred regularly. I took it all very seriously. But then winter hit, I was 6 months pregnant and still nauseous, and the bloom was off the rose. In early 2005 I stopped completely. Then Hannah was born and my world fell apart and composting was the last thing on my mind.
Our backyard composter
But I felt bad about that. After all, there are many benefits to composting, like:
Soil being made inside the composter
A couple of years ago I got back on the composting horse. Which was a bit of an adventure, since a bunch of bumblebees had set up residence in my neglected bin. But I remained undaunted, and I’ve managed to keep up with the composting pretty religiously since. I harvest my compost in October, and spread it on my garden. I even harvested a little bit this past weekend, although there’s much less in the spring than in the fall. The amount of garbage I’m putting out has decreased, and I feel good about doing my little bit.
Very meager spring soil harvest
You can find lots of good articles online if you’re interested in composting yourself. Metro Vancouver’s brochure ‘Here’s the Dirt‘ is excellent. And of course you can find info on Wikipedia, too. Or you can check out the Government of New Brunswick’s Handbook, ‘Backyard Magic‘.
Many municipalities are starting to offer composting programs, as well. These programs are great, because they accept things that aren’t compostable in a backyard pile, like meat, bones, paper cups and kitty litter. Prince Edward Island is a composting pioneer, and Toronto has the famous green bins. Locally, more Lower Mainland municipalities are getting on the ‘green bin’ bandwagon, but most still don’t offer this service. I would still compost myself if a program like this were available, but I would to divert even more waste from the landfill.
So what about you? What are you thinking about on Earth Day? Or do you have any great composting tips? Please leave a comment and let me know!