I’ve never been so excited about food waste

New compost bin

I just installed my first ever compost bin. And then I mowed the lawn.

How thrilling it was to throw my first haul of grass clippings into the bin! Add to that some twigs and soil, and my composter is ready for its real meal: food waste!

For a long time I thought composting would be too problematic – I live in a marshy area that’s prone to rats and other rodents. But then my neighbour told me that the council sells discounted compost bins. A little interweb research uncovered the allegedly “rodent proof” Green Johanna, sold by Wiltshire council for a bargain £24 delivered.

I’m not exactly thrilled about having a big hunk of plastic on my lawn. And my, what a big hunk of plastic it is – the Green Johanna is massive. And massively ugly. I’m going to have to get creative with the shrubbery to hide it from view.

However, I AM thrilled about composting. As a vegetarian, indeed, as an eater of food, I throw away a LOT of food waste, from onion skins to apple cores to carrot peels. Throw away no more! I can now compost it! And I’m amazed by all of the things that are suitable for composting:

From the kitchen: Fruit, vegetables, dairy products, fish, shellfish, meat,bones, coffee grounds with filter, teabags, eggshells, bread, sauce, soup,egg cartons and so on.

From the garden: Grass, leaves, twigs and branches.

And no more buying compost at the garden centre, I hope.

Composting is all about the interplay between nitrogen- and carbon-rich matter which allows waste to be broken down into healthy, nutritious compost suitable for feeding plants in the garden. There’s a knack to getting the balance right between nitrogen-rich “green” stuff (veggie scraps, coffee grounds, grass clippings) and carbon-rich “brown” stuff (leaves, straw, shredded paper, etc). We’ll see if I have the knack. (I just hope I don’t have any rats!)

6 thoughts on “I’ve never been so excited about food waste

  1. Erin

    My mum has issues with rats in her compost – there are a few things you can do, like covering the bin with chicken wire to discourage them getting in there, not composting meat and meat bones (not that you're going to be doing that anyway!). They're really clever though, the ones in my mum's garden have learned how to open the lid themselves!

  2. Monica

    Good tip about the chicken wire. You know, I did find it strange that the lid of this bin doesn't latch shut or anything… seems easy to get into (rats are VERY intelligent). Hopefully they'll turn their nose up at my hippy rabbit food. 😉

  3. Thomas W.

    @Monica: How about a round of Sweet Peas to cover it up? 😉
    I have seen a few websites stating that worms don't like onions, which is sad because worms help in the composting process. (and because we use a lot of onions in the vegetarian kitchen 😉 )
    Good luck with old Johanna! 😀

  4. @stampylisa

    i am surprised that the compiled list from your link advocates meat & dairy for a compost bin/pile. most household composters will NOT get hot enough to break down meat or dairy fast enough and that is why vermin are attracted. I would never put either of these in my compost pile. However, when I am cleaning out the pantry, all that stuff goes in there, expired crackers, old noodles, old cans of vegs. and it also helps to get it cooking by giving it some fresh horse manure, and the green clippings from your grass. You will be amazed at the awesomeness that caring for a compost bin provides you for your garden. Our grass is always just a bit greener than the neighbors, and the kale in our garden was monstrous.

  5. Monica

    Thomas, I love the idea of sweet peas. In fact, I've got some on the go for the raised bed. But perhaps I'll relocate?

    Lisa, I too looked twice at that list when I saw the meat thing. Weird. Luckily that won't really be a problem in my household. 🙂


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