Friday, July 11, 2008

What a Load of . . .

We've been contemplating composting. When I was growing up, Mom had a humongous garden and at one end of this garden she had a humongous compost pile. I don't think she worried about green vs. brown or methodically rotating it. I think she just piled it on and spread it out at the start of the growing season. But we had the largest yard on the block. And the woman whose house was closest to the pile was our least friendly neighbor. Coincidence? I think not. But as shown in this picture, I don't have the kind of yard Mom was working with.So I've been contemplating alternative composting options.

I like the idea of the Sun-Mar Composter 200 because you can continually add new scraps to it and you can use the compost as it becomes ready rather than waiting for a whole batch to ferment. But David is convinced it will stink and I can't get a feel for the size of it. It might be too large for our tiny back patio. And there is the whole issue of getting food scraps from the kitchen on the main floor to the patio a floor below. I have visions of baskets on pulleys but I'm not sure the condo association would share my vision.
Via Re-Nest I discovered the Happy Farmer Bokashi composter. It certainly addresses the space concern and since it can fit under the sink, it addresses the issue of transporting food scraps to a far off composter (though in so doing it thwarts my plan for patio domination through a clever system of baskets and pulleys). I can see how it shouldn't smell, but I am (a) not entirely convinced some smells wouldn't emanate from the spigot and (b) completely convinced that David will THINK it smells even if it doesn't. Also, it does require a two week fermentation period in the container so, as lots of other folks have mentioned, it seems like you'd need at least two.
Another issue we have is dog poop. Now, Mom put everything in her compost pile including the contents of the kitty litter box. And while some folks scream no to poop in compost, there is apparently a whole movement of compooposters out there. I found them when I was trying to find a commercially available dog poop composter that I came across awhile back which I cannot find for the life of me (edited to add 8/23/08: Found it!). But a homemade version is described here The commercial one I saw was quite small (even smaller than this one, though it's the same idea) and I thought I could bury it in the flower bed at the entrance to the house.David seems to think this will make the entrance to our house smell like poo. So he puts it in the garbage in the garage. Which is at the entrance to our house. Contradiction?
So what are your thoughts on small scale composting and/or dog poo composting?

Click here to return to Gnomicon home page


Rebecca said...

I think that the Sun-Mar composter looks awesome. And it's only 2 feet wide. That sounds like a good size. One solution would be to have a small lidded bucket (or two) that you keep in the kitchen and periodically take out to the composter. Something that can be washed/rinsed regularly shouldn't get too smelly. In Kentucky, there's always an open container for scrapes that gets dumped regularly and I don't remember it smelling. But it's probably emptied once or twice a day.

On the issue of dog poop, I have no good solution. Clearly a separate composter is needed, but it seems like a pain even then. Is there enough ground to put it by the plants out front? That seems like a reasonable place. Do you have special biodegradable bags or do you have to empty the bags out? Yuck.