Monday, January 28, 2013

Indoor composting update

It's a day shy of three weeks with the indoor compost bucket and I'm pretty thrilled with how things are going.We've had unusually warm weather for most of this time which means, perversely, that the compost bucket hasn't stayed as warm as it might have because we haven't needed to run the wood stove much. (When we've got that thing fired up to heat the house, it's probably 85-90 degrees right next to it, but as we've gotten used to cooler weather, we don't bother with it if the house is in the low 60s, as our solar hot air collector will take care of the next 10 degrees on its own.)
Despite that lack of external heat, the compost was warm to the touch this morning when I turned it with my little scoop.
On the plus side, no flies, other bugs or leaks have come out of the compost. Whatever decomp activity is going on in there, it appears to be all microbial. Which is fine with me. Out of sight and all that.
I don't smell a thing from it if the lid is on and when I open it to peek or stir it up a bit, I get a lovely, rich, loamy smell out of it that I adore in my outdoor-scent-starved winter state. It has turned a nice shade of dark brown and now I'm waiting for the lemon halves and apple segments that my daughter tossed into it without chopping smaller to break down more before I call it close to finished. I was careful not to throw potentially stinky produce into it. It has largely greens, banana peels, citrus, apple and coffee grounds in it. (Most of the rest of our scraps end up frozen for soup stock anyway -- the onions, kale stems and carrot bits.)
On the down side, adding sawdust to it on a 3-to-1 ratio meant that the bucket was full inside of a week, and the pile of frozen compost outside is growing again. I think I might need 4-6 of these buckets (filling one a week) to manage all our kitchen waste. While there is technically room for them around the woodstove, it would look weird. Okay, weirder. Plus any visiting fire marshals would not be happy.
I do think I will pick up and start a second bucket however, as I read recently in an interior design book that pairs of objects visually balance a space. I think one white plastic bucket on either side of the wood stove will be tres charmant, n'est pas?

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