November 12, 2013

Lesson 137: We're Composting

A few months ago, Mark and I decided to learn to compost. We knew nothing about it: didn't know why, didn't know what, didn't know how.

You could kind of say, we didn't have a clue. But then, we started to find out.

After some research, we can sort of answer of all these questions.

Why the Ashbaugh's Compost?

1. We don't have a garbage disposal, which means all of our food was going into the trash can (or Mark would scatter it in the yard. Grrr.). This made the trash smell horrible and required that we change bags too often. Now we compost! Food waste goes in a small tupperware next to our sink and is taken out to the pile almost everyday.

(Yup, we love bananas.)

2. We don't have trash service. This means Mark has to load up trash in our car and take it to the dump. Composting helps create less trash, equaling fewer trips to the dump.

3. We're hoping to expand our gardening efforts next summer, and apparently compost has magical powers in a garden.

4. We have a lot of land. This means we can tuck the composting pile on the other side of the tree line and never have to look at it.

What the Ashbaugh's Compost?

We read Home Composting Made Easy by C. Forrest McDowell and basically, we compost what he says to and vice versa.

We do compost: Grass clippings, Leaves, Dead plants, Food scraps, Fruit wastes, Manure, Coffee grounds, Hair, Lint.

We don't compost: Fire ashes, Meat, Bones, Dairy Products, Human Doo-doo, Plastic, Metal, Glass, or Toxic plants.

How the Ashbaugh's Compost? 

We do the "compost as you go" style." As we cook, we collect food scraps in the aforementioned container. When it's full, we empty it into the pile (GREENS). Later that day, Mark will come along and throw a layer of BROWNS on it.

At first our composting pile was contained in a circular enclosure of cinder blocks. (These blocks, like the materials for everything we create, were found on the property.)

However, then Mark learned that the pile needed more air circulation, so this is the set-up as it currently stands.

Isn't it hilarious how excited people get over a pile of waste?

In other yard news, look what has started to grow!

I wonder if this lettuce would be more productive in a salad or as food for the compost pile?

Lesson Learned: Definitely too early in this experiment to have learned much yet. I will say though, composting helps keep our trash from stinking! And that's a good thing.


  1. Great minds think alike. First an expanded vegetable garden. Now composting which we started about two years ago in the corner of our hospital property for all the same reasons. Not sure why it took so long since Jim Kline in 06 had also talked about doing that.

    1. Dad, if you get a chance, you should send me some photos of your garden and your compost pile, and I could write a post about your garden. (Preferably if stuff is blooming) Haha!


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