The Joy of Composting

The Joy of Composting

One of my favorite things about living a WFPB lifestyle is how little waste I generate. I can forget to put my trash can out to the curb for weeks before it fills up, and then it is only miscellaneous wrappings or packaging that can’t go into the recycling bin.

I never have to worry about stinky, rotting food smelling up the trash because I compost all my scraps. Turning your food waste into new soil that will then produce new plants is incredibly rewarding.

I NEVER throw food away. Gone are the days when I would buy vegetables to eat with meat main dishes, only to find them slimy and molding at the bottom of the vegetable bin a week later.

Now, I regularly scan what’s in my fridge that needs to be used, and presto! It becomes a pot of soup, a stir fry, a casserole, or it goes into the freezer for later.

Food scraps:

Peelings, pits, skins, stems, and seeds do not go into the garbage can. Instead, they follow one of these routes…I keep a container in my freezer for scraps to be used to make vegetable stock. Skins, peelings, stems and ends from onion, garlic, carrots, celery, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, and greens are added to the container until it is stuffed. Then I make a large pot of vegetable stock to use for soups and sauces. After straining the scraps from the stock, the scraps go into my compost bin.

Any scraps that aren’t good for stock go directly into my kitchen scrap bin. This is just a small container with an airtight lid that fits in the door of my refrigerator. I refrigerate it to keep it from smelling. Once it is full, I take it outside and empty it into my outdoor compost bin.

Compost needs a combination of “green” and “brown” matter to get the right mix of carbon and nitrogen to break down into healthy soil. Greens can include your fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags, seaweed, and grass clippings.

Browns can include leaves, twigs, sawdust, wood chips, corn stalks, newspaper, paper towels, dryer lint, and hair.

Aim for a ratio of three to four parts browns to one part greens, but you don’t have to measure precisely.

What type of container should you use?

When I started, I used a large trash can with a locking lid. I drilled holes all around the can, as compost needs air and moisture. Each time I added to the can, I’d tilt it toward me and roll it back and forth to mix the compost. Once it got pretty full, I stopped adding to it and let it “cook” in the heat of the summer months. By the fall, I had gorgeous rich, black soil to add to my fall vegetable beds.

I have since upgraded to this standing bin, which has two compartments. One is full and “cooking,” while the other I continue to add to. For more on composting, here’s a nice article.

If you do not have a vegetable garden, you can use your composted soil in your flower beds, potted plants, or donate it to a local community or school garden.

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