Monday, November 30, 2009

Your questions...

You've been I'll be answering. A different question every day until they are all done. 

Question from Gary: How's the composting going?

(Asking about my rotting poop? Now that's above-and-beyond the normal bonds of friendship. Thank you Gary.) 

Now that winter has arrived, my compost pile has slowed waaaaaay down. As in, stopped. Or at least stopped to the naked eye, which is what I'm using to make my inspection.  And this is despite the fact that one can hardly call our Bay Area winters cold. We haven't even had an overnight frost yet. But still, a slowdown in rotting is normal. But it leaves me with a problem:Where do I put my scraps now?  I've pretty much filled the bin, and since it will be a few more months until the compost inside it is ready for distribution, I have nowhere to put my daily non-chicken-friendly food scraps.  So I'm back to throwing away food, which feels...terrible. 

I could buy another composter, and fill it in anticipation of the spring rotting season.  But that doesn't really feel all that productive to my instant gratification needs. So, I've decided to step up my composting profile by adding a wriggly wranch (sic) to the equation. Worms. Lots of them.  Safe and snug in my laundry room, they will happily convert my organic materials into supersoil all winter long. I've done the research, of course. I can get a ranch at a discounted price through my county waste management authority.  And I can get worms from the local vermiculture supply house. (Ya gotta love the Bay Area, folks!)

It's the obvious next step, but I'm a little reluctant. To the uninitiated, vermiculture sounds really complicated.  There are worms, and there's bedding, and it all has to be damp but not wet, and then food and organics should cover the surface, and then there's a removal process that I still haven't gotten a handle upon.  It sounds a lot Shudder. 

An offset to this is the fact that worm castings (the polite term for worm poop) are considered even more beneficial to a garden than kitchen compost. Furthermore, generating castings is certainly a quicker process than composting. In all liklihood, my first batch of castings will be ready long before my first compost, despite the fact that my compost has a 2 month head start. 

So, what's the delay? Why haven't I ordered my ranch and my wrigglers, and shredded up a mess of old newspapers so that my worms can get working?  Well... personal revelation time. And don't hold it against me, but despite the fact that Christmas is still a month away I already have spender's fatigue. Yep, you guessed it, I just wrote my semi-annual property tax check. Festive! So little Libby is feeling like short-sightedly hoarding her diminishing pool of pennies rather than investing in long-term green solutions right now. How very... American of me.  Sad, but true. But don't fret too much, dear reader.  This fatigue happens every year at this time...and doesn't often slow me down for more than a week or two. Eventually, my guilt at throwing away food scraps will overcome my post-property -tax-pouting. And I'll be back to being as close to zero waste as I can be. 

Next Post: You've asked. And I've been reluctant to answer lest I jinx it all. But you deserve to know.  Next week, an update on the male/female ratio of my flock, complete with pictures of the mostest beautifulest of my girls. Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. having great success just growing red wrigglers in a "bio stack" composter. It composts, they feed and lay worm eggs around the edges, and I'm hard pressed to throw them enough food from the compost bucket; I've got my neighbors bringing over their compost now since none of them get how simple this is.
    I'm up to 5 bins now from craigslist. Try it you'll love it. Hint; put a plastic garbage bag over the compost and under the lid. This contains the natural moisture and I never have to add water.