In my itty bitty yard, I feared a pile of decomposing food matter stinking up my little bit of heaven and avoided a compost pile, until this year. My motivation was three -fold. I was tired of paying big bucks for bagged compost for my flower beds and garden, I realized the amount of food scrap waste I was sending off to the landfill was unnecessary, and I read Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew.Doesn't he look happy about his geometrically arranged flower bed? He is a real do-it-yourselfer when it comes to gardening and has some strong opinions, so naturally I liked his book.
About compost, Mel says: "No home should be without a compost pile--even those without gardens. In fact, I feel that if every family had a mulch pile and used it to recycle their kitchen scraps (except meat and bones) and all their leaves and grass clippings, local taxes would be reduced, the price of oil would drop because we wouldn't use so much, and the balance of nature would be greatly restored."Well, I'm not going to test Mel's economic theories, but being too cheap to spend more than ten bucks on a compost container I tested one of Mel's great d.i.y. ideas with a few feet of chicken wire and three metal stakes (all of which I pilfered off of my mom's farm. Thanks mom!). Jared and I made a cylinder of the fencing and secured it with wire then hammered the stakes in the ground to form a triangle within the new compost cage to support it. It took us about ten minutes.
So, in goes all my kitchen scraps except meat, bones, citrus and seeds. In goes extra dirt, a little hose water to keep it moist and any other worm food that we produce around here. For the first couple months we transfered any worms, centipedes, potato bugs and other dirt dwellers we would find elsewhere in our yard to the compost cage. Since then, they have upped their numbers all on their own and I am on my way to some delicious "hummus" for my garden, come fall!
Does it stink? NO! Is is a pain in the butt? NO! Do I forget to add to it for weeks at a time and still it continues on? YES! This is my kind of do-good project.
Check out the following link to Mel's page for more tips on how to build and care for a compost heap: