Monday, May 25, 2009

Compost Conundrum

So, like any good eco-nut, I can't bear to think of throwing away food scraps that could return to the Earth and feed my vegetables rather than being trapped in a land fill. I did some research, decided that a worm bin would be great, and set everything up. First I collected food for a while, then I got the worms and continued to add what I hope were the proper proportions of carbon and nitrogen and water. As time passed, my worm population dwindled, until I couldn't find any worms left. See, the problem is, I don't have much food waste. This is great for me and my budget, but it didn't work out so well for the worms.

That system failed, I moved my compost bin out to the balcony and continued to add whatever food waste I had. Since it was winter, and the bin was totally dried out, nothing broke down. It is now spring and I have an overflowing bin of food scraps (predominantly egg shells actually) which is all in nearly the same state as when I put it in, with the occasional addition of mold/fungus.

Clearly the system needs some help to break down any time soon. Enter the possibility of miraculous 4 week decomposition with the help of Bokashi! Maybe. This stuff is filled with micro-organisms that pickle your food waste in a couple weeks, then if you mix it in with some soil you get rapidly decomposed organic matter. It seems too good to be true, and I can't decide if its worthwhile.

I also found a local farm that might take my materials and convert them into compost for me. There is a certain satisfaction in creating my own, but if its going to be more effective to have someone else do it, I'm willing to make that sacrifice.

So, what do I do? Make my own pickled stuff or have someone else make regular compost?

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