I didn’t tell a lot of people, but one of the things I got for Christmas was a composter (you get really strange looks). But I finally have a finished batch of compost, which I mixed into my herb garden last week, including around my new basil plants.
I got a barrel composter, a relatively neat (as in tidy) solution for our yard. I have been putting all of the kitchen vegetable scraps (including a lot of citrus rind) plus paper towels and coffee grounds in it, along with some trimmings from the herb garden since January. I have a plastic square container (which I think was originally intended for washing dishes) that I fill up ~ 3 times a week and dump in (then rotate to mix, it’s on a little stand that makes this easy to do). I quit putting anything new in before we went to Hawaii to let it finish. I have to say, nature is pretty amazing. There has been a succession of bugs, starting with fungus gnats, then a type of small fly and assorted beetles, and ending with a whole bunch of worms – including a whole bunch of baby worms that appeared the day before I unloaded it. All of this is good according to my friend the retired etymology professor. The only time it got nasty was at the end – it was too wet, so I had the lid off to let it dry out, which the only time it was a bit stinky and attracted house flies. It mixed into the garden dirt just fine (it would just kind of disappear as you mixed). Also amazing is volume reduction – when I was done, the amount of compost would have fit into the container that I dumped probably 50 times into the barrel.
This should result in some good basil this year (and if you are having Pesto Pizza at the house, remember, you don’t want to know how the sausage was made either). Meanwhile, I am hoping the worms are happy in the garden, and I have started another batch.