One of the first orders of business in our new home was setting up a home composter. We have always had a compost bin outside and a compost bucket next to the sink. After moving into our new home we quickly found out there was no place to put the food scraps.
Our lot is too small to build a large composting bin like we had in Vermont so we looked at other options. Our son-in-law had a Lifetime Compost Tumbler that spun and the compost was created rather quickly because it is constantly being turned over. We decided that would be the perfect composter for our small lot.
Why compost when you live on a small lot? It saves landfill space, as well as time and gas transporting yard waste. It also improves the soils ability to retain moisture, reducing water costs. Composting also provided needed hummus and nutrients for healthy plants.
I’m sure when our house was built the good soil was scraped. As a result we have a very shallow bed of soil before you hit clay. In Vermont we dealt with gravel and rocks, here I am learning to garden in clay. I figure the more compost I can add to the soil the better the soil will be.
What impressed me with the composter we set up is the small amount of space it takes up. We tucked it in the corners of our lot but it is so convenient. I can just step outside to dump our small kitchen bucket. The lid latches so there is no danger of rodents getting in, or the compost falling out.
How do we start filling the compost tumbler? We save all of our kitchen scraps such as fruit and vegetable peelings, cores, egg shells and coffee grounds. You’d be amazed at how quickly you can fill a small kitchen bucket. We also bag all of our lawn clippings to add to the composter. Leaves and weeds from the garden can also be added. You can also add manures from herbivores such as cows, rabbits or chickens. One of our neighbors has chickens so I may ask if I can have some of their discarded shavings.
What not to compost? Meat, bones, greases, dairy products or bread will attract pests. Don’t add anything that has been treated with pesticides or herbicides. Black Walnut leaves which inhibit plant growth and oak leaves and pine needle because they decompose slowly. Do not add any diseased plants or weeds with seeds. Don’t add any pet or human waste.
Setting up a home composter is an easy process and there are many options to fit into your property. After 4-12 weeks we should have some beautiful rich compost to add to our gardens.