Compost Redux: The Wormery
I'm looking into creating a wormery type compost to see if it works faster; here is a Wiki How or this DIY Wormery. (Here's a mini version to try with your kids.)I blogged about my compost last March. It is more work than tossing, but I am gratified in seeing the volume of what I am not sending to the landfill- plus, it saves me about $20 a month in trash fees because I can go with the smaller can. Still, in the movie Trashed, I see bins for composting picked up by the city of Toronto (or some city). And I wish we had that. A family of 9 that eats a lot of fresh produce, like mine, fills up a 4 foot, cubed, compost in about 6 to 8 weeks. So we need at least two that size to compost at our house-- thus my wish TDS could take my organic waste and compost it for me. They have a huge truck-like machine that drives over their monstrous piles and turns it for them. They can actually keep their piles at the optimum temperature, and with the mechanical turning, their heaps are actually dirt in only 6 weeks. My pile takes 3-4 months because I don't have a crew out there maintaining it. Hence, the wormery-- it doesn't take as long, should be odor-free, and should be easier.
Since last March we have rebuilt our compost. We went to a local business and got free pallets from them. Pallets are untreated wood- nothing in the wood to leach into my new soil. TDS composts pallets that come to their facility in trash trucks. Our last pallets lasted 9 years- although the last year they crumbled significantly; they could have been replaced after 7 or 8 years. We simply screwed together the pallets to form a bottomless bin. It costs only a couple dozen screws and some time. Our source of brown material right now is leaves and gypsum board- yes, we still have gypsum from remodeling. You don't likely have gypsum just sitting around, but if you advertised on Craigslist you could find some. If you live near me, you can have some of mine.
Some sources say that citrus is too acidic to compost well, but I have not found it to be a problem. Maybe my soil is so alkaline otherwise? I don't really test my compost. I don't turn it that much. We get no rain, so I don't rely on my waste having enough water content- I do use the garden hose on it every week or two. Then again, it is taking 12 weeks to make compost. I've thought this winter I'd try drying out my orange peels to make an aromatic potpourri mulch instead of composting them.
We compost: apple cores, carrot peels, and the other "duh" things... orange and grapefruit peels and pulp from juicing... bread crumbs and crust... paper plates (just the cheapo paper plates, nothing special), coffee grounds, eggshells. I wish that the little stickers on fruit were compostable. There's a duh moment for those people- why are those stickers plastic? Make them paper with soy ink, please.