Thursday, October 15, 2009

Feeding the Beast

(here she is...hungry for action.
my kefir jar is to the upper left,
and the mini excalibur is on the right)

This has been a LONG time coming.
I had some compost experiments at an old
apartment on 64th and Amsterdam back in 2005,
but due to my lack of knowledge about how compost
works, I had some pretty explosive results.

Hint...add lots of soil and/or finished compost
to your fresh vegetable/fruit waste so the bacteria can
break it down much much faster.
I didnt know this at the time.

I would stuff pounds of juice pulp in these
5 gallon buckets every couple of days,
eventually filling them and then just sealing the
top. Thinking that I was letting it "incubate",
I would just forget about it until all that pressure
would burst the lid off and shoot half-rotten cabbage
into my closet. What a damn mess that was.
And my word...the smell.

The smell. Not even funny.

I would hear a loud *POP* and it happened
twice before I just gave up on the whole thing.
I had roommates, and it just wasnt cool to be
stinking the place up like that, especially since
they werent into gardening or anything like that.

I had major fruitfly issues that summer too.
They would all just chill out in the wheatgrass I was
growing in my little room. My poor roommates.

That was four years ago, and I hadnt taken
up urban composting again until now...sadly.

I wasnt going thru as much plant waste as before
(mostly due to smoothies and not juicing)
but lately there are always egg shells, spinach stems,
and again, now that we are juicing more - pulp.

(lots of stuff that usually goes into a landfill...
the first meal of "le beast".)

I have worms working for me this time too.
I put some in with the fruit trees, so I simply
pulled out about 10 and placed them in the bucket.

(from l to r - pink guava, black sapote (YES), and passion fruit vine)

I would love more, and will likely get more soon,
but for now this is fine. I then, and this is important -
dumped finished compost on top that I received from
Steve Storch of Natural Science Organics after
visiting his place in Watermill, NY.

This way, I have dumped BILLIONS of microorganisms all over
the undecayed plant waste so they get working on it really fast.

That was what I missed during those first
experiences - no soil or compost added to the veggie waste
to start breaking things down. The stinking stuff would just
ferment, build up pressure, and then apply itself to my
dark and warm closet interior.

Things are breaking down fast.
I add brown napkins and paper bags to soak
up any moisture, and the worms are doing there thing.
And so far there is really no smell...pretty much.
Sure...if you stick your nose down there you will get a
whiff of something, but its really minimal.

(this wonderful little cubby where we once stored our
kefirs will now house the compost bin...perfect!)

So make your own compost and keep that waste
from going into a landfill! I will just keep applying this
stuff to the fruit trees in the window.

Im amazed at how much is going in there,
and I think I might have to dump some more
compost on top of the mix to keep things happy.

I give it a shake every few days to keep things moving,
and leave the lid unsealed so pressure wont build up.
Which is pretty important. Especially while living with
another person who might not be so gung-ho about
the ins and OUTS of composting indoors.

This is an ongoing experiment that only started
a week or so ago, so Ill keep things updated about this for sure.

Feed the beast! And she will reward you kindly!