Monday, July 18, 2011

Creating your own Compost Magic

Compost has evolved significantly from its humble origins in farming over a few millennia to something even us Plano urbanites can practice under a sink or in the backyard. I can personally attest to its growing popularity around the neighborhoods. Heck, ever since I learned about worm composting, I’ve been taken hook, line, and sinker—my apologies to worms for the fishing metaphor. In my cabinet, I maintain my mini ecosystem of compost wizards in a storage container.

There’s just something kind of magical about watching seemingly worthless materials transform into rich, usable earth. And with the Harry Potter series coming to a close, I’m up for some wizardry. Your ingredients of choice are newspaper, twigs, leaves, most non-meat food scraps, digestive critters (certain worms like red wrigglers), a container and water. This holds true for indoor and outdoor composting.

The beauty of soil manufacture lies in the variety of styles available. Whether you’re interested in it as a casual hobby or time investment, there’s a tried and true method for you. You can start with a small sealed container indoors, have an outdoor open bin that gets ruffled through every once in a while, or even a closed tumbling container. So have some fun, research and if it’s for you start one. Be sure to give us an update on how it goes! Let the magic begin.

For more detailed information on composting, here’s a good overview from


Green with Envy said...

I was just in Austin visiting a friend who is an avid Gardener. When I asked her where her compost bin was located, she said she bought all her compost, because she was worried about rats. I have never thought of this, in my small composting that I have done. What are your thoughts?

Erin Hoffer said...

Alex, thanks for promoting composting in our community.

Some folks are reluctant to compost because they are concerned about the pile attracting unwelcome nature friends. A correctly-built and well-managed compost pile does not attract vermin. Yard trimmings like dead leaves and grass clippings are the primary components of most backyard compost piles and are not usually food sources for rats. When furry creatures show up to dine, it’s often because a composter used an open, unenclosed bin and introduced food waste into the pile. (You may not smell the scraps but those opportunistic scavengers can.) For your safety and that of the neighborhood, compost yard trimmings in a traditional pile in the yard; compost food waste using an indoor worm bin or outdoor biodigester.

To learn how to compost food waste using worms, visit our free online eLearning module at