Monday, May 21, 2012

Composting Posting

What is composting?
I love composting; well really, I just like another way to free up some of the trash that would go into my can. I also like the idea of doing my own recycling at home which is what composting is, turning something old into something new.  Composting is the breakdown of organic materials into a useable fertilizer for your yard or garden. Did you know that “Americans throw away 200 million pounds of trash a DAY and 15% of that is yard and kitchen waste”?? (

What do I need?
How you want to compost is up to you and your needs.  If you have a small or unfenced yard and aesthetics are important, a composter or tumbler may be what you want. These can be placed near your trash can and will keep all of your waste contained and attractive. Also, if you do not have a fenced yard, a composter or tumbler will keep rodents and animals out of your compost. Here are a few examples all found here: 

You can build a compost area out of chicken wire, old pallets or wood scraps.  Just fashion a bin out of one of the said materials. This option also keeps your debris in and animals out.
If you have a larger, fenced yard you can just make a pile. I chose an inconspicuous place behind our shed and near the garden.

Your inside container can vary as well. Some are decorative and sit on your counter and some are simple and can be hid in a cabinet.  Ours is a small bucket with a lid and has two brackets to hang it on the inside of a cabinet door.   Whatever you use, you need to have a lid to keep smells in and fruit flies out. You can even use a large coffee can with a lid.

What can I compost?
The key ingredients in compost are air, water, carbon (brown/leaves) and nitrogen (green/grass clippings). You can compost almost all of your yard and kitchen waste as long as it does not contain meat or greasy/ fatty liquids (this includes salad dressings). Some examples of compostables are below:

Over ripe fruits and vegetables
Fruit and vegetable peels
Coffee grounds
Flower cuttings
Yard waste (leaves, trimmings, weeds)
Paper (newspaper or shredded computer paper)
Cardboard (cut into small pieces)
Egg shells

*Tip: Chop up your compost before adding it to the pile, this helps with the decomposing process.

Now what?
Keeping your compost turned and moist is key!! My pile last summer turned into a huge ant pile. After a little research I found out that the dryness of the pile was the culprit. Keep it watered and keep it turned. Since I use a pile method, I turn my compost with a pitch fork. I try to make sure that when I add new materials, I cover them with older material from the bottom of the pile.  When your compost is ready to use in your yard or garden it should be brown, crumbly and smell earthy.

All that is left now is to reap the rewards of your efforts! Use your FREE compost in your garden, beds or pots! Enjoy!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mini Post: Where did April go??!!

April flew by and we’ve been busy both in and outside of the hive in the weeks since I last posted. Earth Day weekend the Raleigh Museum of Natural Sciences sponsored a downtown Earth Fest. We explored the festival post-downpour so the crowd was down and perfect.

We celebrated Dax’s first birthday and Christening!

My husband and I went to Nashville for a conference!

After I realized Twinkle Toes’ current home was not secure, I borrowed a butterfly habitat from a fellow teacher. She also gave me four chrysalises that she had left over from her class project. We didn’t have them very long before they hatched into butterflies. This was very exciting and happened very fast. As first, it looked like an insect massacre as the sides of the netting were covered with a red, blood like fluid. This is apparently meconium, the fluid inside the chrysalis that the butterfly then pumps through their wings to prepare for life outside of the chrysalis.

We kept our fluttery friends for a couple of days and then had a little going home party. This was fun!

The heirloom tomatoes Ella planted in the egg cartons are sprouting nicely. We will  transplant these into the garden soon. I have so many plants!   I might transplant a few into pots on our deck as well.

We‘ve also had a decent amount of rain in the last couple of weeks and our garden is coming up nicely. We seem to have something new sprouting every few days!! (although we are down a tee-pee due to the storm)

I am currently working on my compost pile and will be sharing this info with you soon!

Happy Spring! Buzz!!