Monday, November 10, 2008


Shortly after we arrived in Germany I did a PSBN post about recycling German style. Since then I have noticed my teeny tiny trash can can sometimes go two days with out being emptied even though our house is home to four growing eating machines known as boys. Of course the recycling really piles up.

Most of the stuff in my trash can is organic waste that could be composted it we had a place for a compost pile. If you have a back yard, even a small one it is easy to make compost. Compost is the best soil amendment you can add to your garden. Much better than chemical fertilizers and best of all it is free. You are simply using things you already have and turning it into rich soil instead of sending it to the land fill.

At it's simplest a compost pile can just be a big pile where you dump your coffee grounds, eggs shells, grass clippings, vegetables peels and other organic waste. This is the kind I used to have, of course I lived out in the country and had lots of space so I could put this rather messy pile at a distance from the house. There are lots of options for composting bins that are tidy looking and can speed up the composting process. Some are more expensive than others, you can even make your own. Depending on where you live there may be municipal programs that sponsor low cost or free compost bins.

For more details on the composting process the EPA has a composting web site that includes instructions and links to state incentive programs. Of course if you google "composting"  you will have 4,540,000 web sites worth of composting advice at your fingertips.

For the more adventurous there is worm composting.  Yes WORMS!  I heard a piece about it on NPR's Science Friday and immediately thought of my sister-in-law. She just finished having her gorgeous new house built last year and is working hard on her gardens.  She commented this summer that she should start composting.  When I heard about worm composting I kept picturing her trying to explain to her husband why there is a big bucket-o-worms parked in the corner of his man cave in the basement.  I couldn't stop giggling.  I guess I have a twisted sense of humor.

Science Friday: Worm Composting

(Just don't tell Kevin it was my idea, I will deny it.)


Jae said...

We started composting this Fall. It's amazing between recycling and composting how little regular trash we have! Now, if I was "nice" like my doggies would like, we'd have almost NO food to toss out. ;)

My mom is very into worm composting - she just got a batch and is hoping for a whole worm farm, compost thing to start happening. Apparently they even will "build" a nursery for their babies. Isn't that just amazing?!

Thank you for the EPA link - I'm sure it will be helpful. Course here on Belhaven we have the Organic Hispanic to help us with our composting and gardening needs as well. ;)

Stephanie said...

Thanks for this post! We just have a very small patio and garden area, and I had given up on being to compost here, but you gave me some great things to check into.

Tiffany said...

We have worms and have had really good success with them so far. You never smell anything from what goes into the bins and the fertilizer you get out is fantastic. Our plants just love it.

They're fairly easy to maintain but it does take them a while to multiply so you have to be careful not to overwhelm them with too many scraps. I can't wait until ours are able to handle all our compost needs...

Welcome to Germany, BTW. I've been in the Frankfurt area for 7 years now :)