Notes on a little self-published book and on composting.
I wanted, for my own benefit as well as yours, to explore composting. Some of you may want to zone out now and come back for my next blog entry. AND I KNOW that composting is not DIRECTLY related to the purpose of the RealisticChef. But I very often think of composting while in the kitchen making breakfast or lunch or dinner, so we are going to go there.
The thing is, I feel so wasteful when I throw away veggie peelings and egg shells and all that. But I also don’t know the first thing about composting. I also don’t have a garden. In regards to that last thing, I am am going to ignore it. Perhaps composting will lead to gardening. Perhaps I will just return the composted soil to the earth around my lonely rose bush or back behind the swing set. This is just a beginning. Whatever. I have wanted for years to break down composting into a few simple principles and rules and post them on the fridge. Then I could get a pretty bowl like Rachel Ray and throw the compost stuff in there every time I cook. Then I could throw it in the yard. Voila! Composting.
Then last week I was talking about self-publishing and one of my best buddies snagged a book off her shelf which she bought online from a self-publishing group. She says she loves it and uses it a lot. She said I could borrow it and I gave her a half-hearted okey UNTIL I wandered upon the page titled “Compost for Beginners.” What I had been waiting for! And since the author begins her explanation with a sentence containing the words “easiest,” and “cheapest,” I thought I should break it down for me and for you, too.
- A compost “bin” can be as simple as a pile in the corner of your yard. That’s what I am going for.
- Start your pile with six inches of paper scraps, dead leaves, and straw. Then throw on two inches of grass clippings and food scraps. Finish with 1 inch of garden soil. Hm…
- Do this like six more times as you can manage and then water until it is damp.
- Add more stuff (like from working on the yard or cutting up veggies) as you acquire it. Turn everything over once or twice a month. It should generate it’s own heat after a month or so, and is ready when it is dark, crumbly, and smells like fresh earth.
Now you feel very environmental and at one with food. Maybe.
Here is a list of things to compost (according to the EPA):
- Clean paper (napkins, too)
- Coffee filters and grounds
- Dryer and vaccuum lint
- Fireplace ash
- Fruits and veggies
- Grass clippings
- Hair and fur
- Hay and straw
- Nut shells
- Untreated sawdust
- Shredded newspaper
- Tea bags
- Wool and cotton rags
- Yard trimmings
Here is a list of things NOT to compost (again, according to the EPA and other sources):
- Animal poo (some say yes, some say no)
- Walnuts, walnut shells, and black walnut tree leaves or twigs
- Coal or charcoal ash
- Dairy products and eggs
- Diseased or insect-infested plants
- Fast, grease, lard, or oil
- Meat or fish bones and scraps
- Yard trimming treated with pesticides
- Heavily printed or coated paper
- Stubborn weeds
- Used personal products (tampons, diapers)
And here is the name of the book that I used for the first part of this blog: Make Your Place: Affordable, Sustainable Nesting Skills by Raleigh Briggs.