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To Compost Or Not To Compost - It's Not Even A Question

Our office is jovial bunch. We're always volleying back and forth on our habits, likes and dislikes. It's amazing how a bunch of people can have such different backgrounds and interests. Take this conversation between Amanda and Joseph last week.

Amanda: "Don't throw out the used coffee grounds anymore. I'm bringing in a container to keep them and then I can throw them in my compost pile at home"

Joseph: "What the heck is a compost pile"

Amanda: "How do you not know what a compost pile is? (She sounded totally shocked, by the way) I take vegetable clippings, coffee grounds, leaves and other stuff and throw it in a pile in my back yard. It sits there and decomposes. Once it's dirt again, I fertilized my gardens with it.

Joseph: "That is gross. You have a rotting pile of garbage in your back yard. I bet it stinks"

Amanda: (Sounding totally exasperated) Nevermind.....

Composting is a widely used and hugely beneficial way to help the environment. Many take out restaurants are offering biodegradable containers you can place in the compost. Commercial grade soils and fertilizers can't compare with organic homemade compost.....and it's FREE!

Here's a few tips to start your own:

1. Find a spot that is convenient to access, but not to close your home.

2. You can just have a small pile or box it in on three sides with the front as a access point. You can also buy fancy containers, tumblers....the web is full of compost holders.

3. Start by spreading a layer that is several inches thick coarse, dry brown stuff like straw or leaves where you want to build the pile

4. Top that with several layers of fresh stuff - these are your vegetable trimmings and coffee grounds.

5. Add a thin layer of soil.

6. Add a layer of brown stuff

7. Moisten the three layers.

Now you can add to the pile at your leisure. Remember, you can add as much fresh stuff as you want, but make sure to keep adding some brown stuff. Turn the pile once a week with a shovel or pitchfork. In a few months, you will have beautiful, loamy, nutrient rich soil - and no...it doesn't smell.

Joseph, you're going to be sorry when Amanda doesn't share her fresh tomatoes with you.

Beth Dilley
Beth Dilley