5.23.2012

Compost Compare Contrast

Memorial Day weekend will bring many things for the Huang household: a much-needed break from teaching and baseball, a third weekend day, maybe multiple naps for once.  It will also mark the debut of the first of two compost bins I've been making for about six months.  This first bin hasn't been added to in about six weeks, during which time I've been stirring and turning and hoping and praying. 

Believe it or not, despite breaking many iron-clad compost rules, it's looking pretty good.  My gardener wife will be the ultimate judge, but in my mind at least it's a success: six months of scraps turned into nutrient-rich soil for our front yard garden.

My second bin will now be the one that is not added to but that rather is just stirred and turned and hoped for and prayed over.  But I am largely out of dry leaves from last fall, and my wife is none too happy about the prospect of me continuing to pour food scraps into a garbage can just feet from our kitchen door in the heat of summer, not with fruit flies running ragged all over our kitchen.  So rather that start a new batch, I may have to call it quits until the fall.  This is painful to me, as composting has become a cherished part of my post-meal routine.  And the thought of turning trash into treasure is really, really pleasurable to me.

My saving grace is that, according to my friend from the Philadelphia Water Department, dumping food scraps down the drain is actually not that bad, and in some cases is more green than composting.  That's because those scraps end up being treated and reused, so they are not unlike compost in having a second life. 

I may yet convince Amy to let me keep on composting throughout the summer, especially if I can find some leaves to serve as my base.  (I knew I should have stashed more of those last fall!)  But if there's no composting for a few months, I can take solace that flushing scraps down the garbage disposal is good for the environment as well.

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