How to Compost

Posted by Mrs Money on April 27th, 2009

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The worms go in, the worms go out. The worms make yummy compost for my garden! One of the best things you can do to help cut the amount of unnecessary garbage that ends up in our landfills is to compost. We at the Money household eat lots and lots of greens, veggies, and fruits. Not only does that cut down on our household waste because they don’t have any packaging (or very little), but we can also use the scraps for compost to put nutrients back into our garden. Free fertilizer!! Win-win.

When we first bought our house, we were stoked because we had enough property to have our own organic garden. Lucky us, the previous owner had installed raised beds, and we were fortunate as well to purchase our house in February when we could start plotting a garden. As soon as we closed on the house and moved in, we started to compost. Composting is so easy anyone can do it. Seriously.

We have a pretty good system set up here, and we do it year round. I took some pictures to show you our set up.

This is where we throw all of our “scraps”: egg shells, potato peels, apple cores, stems from greens, banana peels, orange peels, etc. All discarded vegetable matter, no animal matter (except egg shells, and yes I think it’s weird too).  It’s an old 1 pound organic spinach container that I couldn’t bear to throw in the recycle bin.  I have an attachment to these things.  They are great for so many things: freezing stuff in, putting my lunch salads in, etc.  I digress.  To the right, you’ll see we’ve got a coconut that’s waiting to be broken open and used, and a pineapple.  I’ll probably end up throwing the coconut shell and all the pineapple scraps into the compost, much to Mr. Money’s dismay.  I figure after time they’ll break down anyway.  If not, we can sift it out.  You may not want to put those in your compost if you’ve only got a small bucket.

When the carton gets full, I take it outside to the compost bin.  Mr. Money actually designed and built this himself.  There are two compartments to it, complete with doors on each side.  There is a divider in the middle so the compost doesn’t fight.  I’m kidding.  The new scraps go on the left and we turn this about once a week (if not more; I’m sort of impatient).  The more times you turn it, the quicker it breaks down into compost.  Of course, I wouldn’t do it every day because then you are not giving it a chance to heat up and break down.  In the fall, we find all the finished compost on the bottom of the heap and move it to the right side so that it can be used in the spring to plant the garden.

Here’s a little better view of the compost bin.  Please ignore the wheel barrel full of leaves and water.  That’s Mr. Money’s doing.  Gross!

Here’s a bird’s eye view of the compost. It’s amazing to think that in a couple months this will all look like dirt again. You’ll also notice that there are a couple things in there that look like plastic.  Please note that plastic is not compostable.  The cup came from one of our favorite Mediterranean restaurants and is made of 100% corn and says you can compost it.  The clamshell from lettuce is the exact same thing.  Of course I had to try it out.  I’m curious to see how long it takes to break down.

Even if you live in a small place or an apartment, you can compost.  Get a few plastic totes, drill some holes in one for draining, and then put it in a fully intact one. I’d keep the lid on and in a place where you won’t smell it.  You can also buy one of those little pots that sit on the counter, but personally I wouldn’t.  One of the things we do if we notice the scraps starting to smell (hardly ever happens) is stick them in the freezer.  They won’t smell any more! 

That, folks, is how we compost.  If you made it to the end, you deserve a cookie.

What do you think about composting? 

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3 Responses to “How to Compost”


  1. Miss M says:

    The city of LA sells the nifty plastic compost bins to residents for a steal, about $20. So I have two! I had problems with my compost drying out too much so I keep a dripper in each attached to the irrigation systems, keeps it nice and moist. Also you can compost more than just fruit and veggies, old bread and most things paper like paper towels or even egg cartons. Supposedly dryer lint can be composted but I worry about synthetic fibers in your clothes, will they leach chemicals into your soil. Maybe only after all cotton loads. The egg shells provide calcium, also you can used crushed egg shells around the base of your plants if you have slugs, they can’t climb over them.

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  2. I like the idea of composting but I don’t see myself doing it. Does it smell? We have a small yard. I’m assuming high heat is good for it? What about very low humidity? Would I have to water my compost? haha.

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  3. Mrs Money says:

    Miss M- That is so cool! I wish they did that here. I don’t use paper towels but sometimes I throw in our shredded paper, like from bills and such. :) That is a great idea about using the egg shells! Thanks!

    Ashley- Mine doesn’t really smell. You can buy a composting bin or just use rubbermaid totes and go that way. I would guess high heat is good for it because it would break it down faster. I would add some water to your compost if you do it because I’m sure it would get dry being in Arizona! Let me know if you try it!

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