As I wrote about before in this post, I’m composting the kitchen scraps of a restaurant in town. Every Friday I get a wheelbarrow full of pineapple skins, shiitake mushroom stems, spoiled avocados, tomato trimmings, corn shucks and cobs, kale stems, spent tea leaves, onion skins, and the like. It’s high quality stuff. Every time I get a new load, I think of what a good thing it is to make use of it, and think of all the great restaurant (and home) scraps being landfilled.
I’ve been layering it in my compost bin with mulched leaves, but I haven’t done a very good job of it. It’s much too much greens vs. browns, so today I decided to fix that.
One side of my two-bin compost system was all leaves. They weren’t doing anything sitting there because they were far too dry. A dry pile of leaves will sit there for years and do little more than settle a bit. I shoveled it all out into a pile next to the bin and started layering it with the restaurant compost which was in the other side of the bin. Peeyoo! Disturbing the anaerobic pile in the sunshine really brought the odor to the surface! I put in a little of the dry leaves, dampened them with rainwater from the recent rains that my kids had collected in every container on the premises for some reason.
This may be the first time their shenanigans actually served a purpose.
Making sure not to leave any dry pockets, I kept layering until the two sides were combined on one side in a big steaming pile of awesome. The bad smell was gone, and it would heat up nicely. With an empty side, I can transfer it over to “turn” it and speed up the composting time. Of course I’ll have to put the incoming scraps someplace else in order to leave a free side, so I’ll have to decide if I really want to turn the pile or just leave it there for the long term. Maybe now would be a good time to try trenching it into some of my garden beds? I’ll let you know if I decide to try that.
I’m really enjoying the composting partnership, and I think it’s something worth pursuing if you think you might be able to persuade a restaurant to do this with you. The volume I’m getting is just right for me, and I love the content of the compost. With a few exceptions, such as the plastic labels they put on pineapples these days and the occasional plastic straw, almost everything is compostable.
Although I did get this last week:
Some sort of labeler? Anybody know what this is?
I love my free compost, and I love that it’s helping a restaurant become greener. If you’re doing this or start doing this, I’d love to hear about it!