Friday, July 15, 2011

I'm 'Posted Up in Here

 This is a picture of my leftover food - tops/bottoms of onions, apple cores, eggshells, onion "skins," banana peels, stem ends, etc.  Yes, this is my compost bin.
I did take this picture right after I threw some leek remains in there, so I spared you the funk that was underneath (what I think is) the pretty green and white "leftovers."  And believe me, it can get pretty funky in the bin.  And not funky in a fun, 1970's-esque way.  Funky in an "EWWWWWWWW!" sort of way.
You see, our compost bin is a large plastic container that lives on our kitchen counter:


Now, the objective of most compost pails is to put them in a "real" compost bin.  But I'll be honest - I am terrified enough of scorpions (and we do that have them - in spades - here in AZ) to err on the side of caution and NOT have one.

So what the heck do I do with all this biodegradable goodness?  I give it to my mother-in-law, of course!!  She has quite the compost bin - two actually - so we take our compost pail to her about once a week.
Why do I do this?  Why would I take the extra step to schlep a bagful of decomposing (and sometimes, if we take longer than a week, a little stinky) veggies and more a half hour away, risking spillage in the car, to dump it in someone else's back yard compost bin?
Trust me - it's worth it.  I look at how must I throw in the compost bin each week as opposed to the trash bin, and I love that I am tossing out less and less.
But clearly I have a way to go.  While I was visiting my mom in Olympia, I read this article in the Olympian newspaper about the garden at the Fertile Ground Community Center, right across the street from the main branch of the Timberland Library.


I had to go and see it.
The first thing I saw was the modified gumball machine, as mentioned in the article, which now dispenses chicken feed for the hens who live there.  HRH had a blast traumatizing the one hen who wasn't inside the enclosure with a most awesome coop (note to self - move somewhere with larger plot, get chickens, build cool coop).


Then I saw the garden:






It was breath-taking.  Living in the desert, I often forget how verdant the Pacific Northwest is and how many flowers and veggies are able to grow with little effort.
And then, I saw it.  The compost... well, it wasn't a bin.  It was more like Compost Central:


Left to right:




How awesome is that?????
There is no way that I'll be able to get my compost to be as epic as this.  But I think that this garden is a marvelous example of what a community can do to become more sustainable, more local, and more nourishing to itself, and a great deal of that is the compost!
So... are you composting?  What do you throw in there?  What do you leave out?  Does your municipality (or local solid waste collector) offer composting (like San Francisco does)?  What do you like about it?  What would you improve?  What do you think of the community garden and compost bin?  Would you want one in your area?  Because I sure do!

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