I've wanted to start a compost for a long time, but have been held back by childhood memories of quickly tossing scraps into a smelly pit of flies. Raised in a family of four veggie lovers, we had started out with high hopes for our compost- but a combination of neglected maintenance and curious black bears made for some interesting (and messy) results.
Since living in Delray, I've appeased my guilt for throwing valuable and reusable resources away as "waste" by dropping off my 'compostables' at the Children's Garden (a great alternative if you don't have the space or time for your own!). Finally, though, I decided to try out my own after picking up some tricks I observed at the garden.
Where Do I Keep It Inside?
No one wants to drag themselves outside every time you need to toss a banana peel.
THEN: Growing up, we collected compost items in a small bucket inside, conveniently located near the back porch to take out every few days when it got full. That was in northern California, so I knew in buggier Florida that this would not be a great option for us.
NOW: We store our scraps it in the freezer. It occupies its own corner away from our food, and doesn't smell or attract gnats.
Where Is It Outside?
THEN: Approximately 200 feet from the house. Far enough that bears and raccoons easily found it without us knowing.
NOW: Approximately 10 feet from the house. I'm motivated to take scraps out more often and can keep a better eye on how it's doing.
How Do I Maintain It?
THEN: We used two above ground, large compost bins. The process felt grueling. We'd look in after weeks and see that -despite the swarms of flies- it didn't look like much was getting done.
NOW: We dug a hole in the ground and buried an old garbage can with holes cut in its sides. Now, just the top of the can peeks out of the ground. Our reasoning- more worm access, and less critter access. We also maintain a healthy mix of food scraps and other items like dead foliage, egg cartons, dryer lint, and ashes from our fire pit. Check out more items to throw in the mix here. Almost every time we take the compost out now, we churn our new soil that looks much richer and darker than I ever remember. (I think it's working guys!)
We're still newbs here when it comes to composting. Do you guys have any suggestions or tricks you've used? Share with us in the comments below!