The dirt on my new crush

After years of gardener’s envy, I finally got myself a composter. Meet the SoilSaver. Locking lid, lifting base doors, sturdy plastic-bolt construction, well ventilated sides, black color for extra heat, made of 100% recycled plastic… oh how I love thee.

I grew up composting, but HOA regulations and the tiny size of our current back yard have thus prevented me from trying it here at home. For a while after I got the community vegetable patch, I was faithfully trucking stinky bags of kitchen scraps out there… well, more or less faithfully. Five miles may not seem like much distance, but it was sufficient to keep me from going there every day like I should have. So most of the time I would save up the bags of kitchen scraps until that time when I might go to the Patch… and usually by the time I felt like going there, I had already thrown out all the bags because they just got too rancid, or because squirrels got into them and scattered eggshells and pepper seeds all over the front walk, or because they were leaking fertile, smelly juices all over our welcome mat.

Then I learned that on average, 30% of the household waste that goes to landfills is actually compostable. That waste could have been nourishing our soil instead of contributing to our growing mountains of trash. I decided that really, $75 isn’t all that much to pay for peace of mind. An Amazon.com gift certificate didn’t hurt, either.

I was originally looking at compost tumblers, but because they aren’t ventilated (they’d drip bits and juices all over if they were) you have to get the mix of compost absolutely perfect or they stink to high heaven and develop nothing but a creeping black sludge. So I thought with just a little work of my own I could not only produce better compost, but save $200. Smiles all around.

Then I wanted a worm composter because in them you can compost meat and dairy and grains and oily table scraps… everything you can’t in a regular composter. The Can-O-Worms looked just perfect. But then I read that the worms have to stay between 40 and 84 degrees, which would mean we’d have to take it inside in both winter and summer. And while they don’t stink (and it would be convenient), it’s not exactly what I would want taking up space in my kitchen.

So now I am officially a compulsive composter. Perhaps not quite neurotic enough to take home friends’ veggie trash, but obsessive enough to ask the green grocer today whether he had any old vegetables that hadn’t sold that he was planning on throwing out. Compulsive enough to fish eggshells out of the garbage disposal. Enough to trek across the entire room to compost a single parsley leaf, when the trash can is right next to me. Enough to get excited about vacuuming because it will generate dust which I can then compost.

I don’t know yet if we’re really reducing our waste by 30% – it sure doesn’t seem like it. I mean, we were already recycling pretty much everything we could, down to clean saran wrap and the styrofoam trays that meat comes in (I have to wash them first, so I think they should count for double). Besides, since I plan our weekly menus rather meticulously, we have very little food waste (no forgotten, decaying bags of produce in my fridge, thankee very much!). It doesn’t really seem like I’ll be filling up this composter in a hurry. Maybe that will change come Spring – or maybe I need to go hit up more grocery stores.

3 Responses to “The dirt on my new crush”

  1. David Says:

    Good for you! I’ve been looking at one of those composters for a while but I haven’t had the nerve to get one yet. I am glad you mentioned the things about the tumblers because they were on top of my list. Anyway, I’ll let you use yours for a while to see how it goes. I look forward to reading more about your composting.

  2. Rose Says:

    Ooooooh coool!

  3. Songspinr Says:

    do you still have to “truck” it to the Patch?
    looks good, but where does it stay?

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