Almost exactly a year ago, I built a compost bin out of spare palettes I scrounged up in the inner-SE industrial area. For various reasons, we never quite got around to using it. Part of it was knowledge and experience. Part of it was laziness. Part of it was being a little unsure of the best way to start. In my experience, once a project gets rolling, things go smoothly, but overcoming that inertia in the beginning is a huge first step to overcome.
Last month, at the Foster-Powell neighborhood association meeting, someone visited from the natural gardening part of metro. The main focus was on a local model garden. This is a plot of land the size of a typical Portland plot with a concrete pad of the approximate shape and square footage of a typical house’s footprint, but with picnic benches and such upon it for demonstrations and training. The rest of the plot is pure garden, to help show off what can be done with local plants. You can drop by and visit just about any time, and they offer classes as well. Anyway, a piece of the talk was on composting and we were given booklets on proper composting (available for download at the bottom of this page on their website). This was a good piece of the composting puzzle, pretty much dropped in our lap. Researching similar information probably wouldn’t have been difficult, but was yet another step (in some unknown number of steps) between us and starting composting. Busy lives, no time, etcetera, etcetera.
Another “big step” (which is actually just a little step in retrospect, but felt big) was getting a compost bucket. (Nevermind the current price; it was on considerable sale when I ordered it.) Previous experience with using an open bowl for temporarily holding compost in the kitchen combined with current experience with ant colonies have demonstrated that something like this is necessary. The bowl really needs to be taken out after every meal. If it’s too dark, too cold, or the weather is too foul, that kitchen bowl of compostable materials will often get left out. With our current ant situation, they would have a field-day! Such a bucket (with nice lid and charcoal filter) felt less like a luxury and more like a necessity.
I can happily say that the bucket is next to the sink. A page from the compost brochure, reminding what can and cannot be composted, is pinned to the wall. I have already dumped three buckets worth of scraps into the bin. Things are looking good on the compost front.