Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Our homeowners' association short-sightedly restricts the size of compost makers that residents can use. This limits us to one of those small drum units that are better than nothing, but not much better—especially for two cooks who prepare and eat a lot of vegetables and produce a lot of coffee grounds. Last winter our compost maker had filled up by December, and because the compost process goes dormant in the winter, we were looking at the wretched and wasteful possibility of tossing our kitchen scraps until spring.
We tried saving scraps in a covered container on the patio. That handled the overflow well, but the spring thaw was very smelly and messy.
Then we remembered that our friend Chuck, a fine gardener and veritable compost king, had built a worm farm in his garage to handle kitchen overflow. A helpful website showed us how to make our own worm farm with nothing more than a couple of Rubbermaid containers, a drill, a scrap of cardboard, a few pages of newspaper, and a handful of yard dirt.
We ordered a pound of red worms online, and soon our farm was up and working. Although the worms slow down a bit in the cold months, we can see that they're doing exactly what they should be doing: eating, digesting, and making more worms. Come spring, we'll add their efforts to our garden; in the meantime, we'll keep our new friends happy with buckets full of coffee grounds, eggshells, and other kitchen scraps.