IMG_7255two months into my composting experiments. growing up in Chicago- my family never composted. no one i knew ever mentioned it- even when rambling about their gardening successes. admittedly- i’ve wanted nothing to do with it because so many people online make it out to be a technical, time-intensive process.IMG_7256but after settling into our new home- with ample room for chickens, garden beds and all sorts of miscellaneous projects- i felt pangs of guilt for not paying more attention to waste production/reduction. prefabricated composters are expensive….really expensive (if you want something more than a cheaply made plastic bin). and i don’t have the tools or know-how to design my own tumbler bin.IMG_7257but with a lot of help from Chase and some inspiration from very minimalist methods online, i opted for this three-walled open design which cost us about $3 (total!). we scoured the neighborhood for some clean, heat treated pallets (make sure they’re not chemically treated) and bought a bit of gardening cloth. beyond that, it’s just a few nails and staples.

i was very concerned that without a lid or more protection, critters would get into the bin and make a huge mess. i was also worried that come the summer’s sun, the stench would be otherworldly. guess what— no odor (unless you’re reaaaalllly up in it) and only a few lizards and birds pick at the pile. i haven’t seen a single rind or eggshell strewn outside the bin.

this is a VERY passive method, as i’m not monitoring the temperature of the compost pile nor frequently turning it with the pitchfork. the sporadic monsoon rains have provided enough moisture to keep things disintegrating at a good rate without getting overly mushy. i limit the pile strictly to garden debris (weeds, leaves, chicken poop and straw), eggshells and fruits + veggies from our kitchen. NO OILS, NO MEAT/BYPRODUCTS. i’m fairly certain this keeps foul smells at bay. in the next week or two, i’ll give everything a good stir and see how the bottom layer is breaking down.