Sunday, January 6, 2013

Moar buckets!

I always have a little trouble backing off of the consumerist high that Christmas brings. Most of the year I am fine to be thrifty, make do and acquire things second-hand, but the influx of holiday cash and gift cards from lovely, generous family gets me in a spendy mood that takes a while to shake, come January.

The other night, we had neighbors over to play a gateway Eurogame called Bohnanza (think brain-stretching board games for grownups) and the husband started to wax rhapsodic about an electric composter he's been researching and wanting to buy for a couple of years. The NatureMill stirs and heats your kitchen waste, turning it into beautiful compost inside of three weeks.

With buckets of icy kitchen scraps littering the back porch and a frozen-solid compost pile roughly the size of the Matterhorn in the yard, it wasn't hard to convince
myself that I *needed* a viable winter composting device.
And when Jason assured me that it cost under a hundred bucks, I was totally sold on it. Sadly, as soon as they left I hopped on teh interwebs and found that the Naturemill in fact costs upwards of $275.

But I was so hooked on the idea of producing buckets of fresh compost this winter which would give my seed-starting efforts a fabulous boost that I spent a couple of days brainstorming ways to afford it. After establishing an Amazon seller account and listing a stack of Dungeons and Dragons modules I picked up at a rummage sale a couple of years ago with an eye to their possible resale value, I got my first $30 sale and began researching the Naturemill in earnest.

It turns out it gets an alarming number of negative reviews for durability and customer service, and I came to the sad conclusion that I couldn't justify spending even a fraction of its cost on one.

So back to the drawing board, aka Google. I soon found some cool sites on composting in winter, both outdoors and in. It is too late for me to set up a functional outside composting pile, but I did make a mental note to clean out my compost pile next fall, so that there would be plenty of room for adding winter scraps.

Then I found a couple of sites like this which detail how to create your own, hopefully low-odor, leak-free compost bin indoors. For less than my $30 bucks, I figured I could pick up a small, cute metal garbage can with lid, drill some holes in the bottom, slip a catchpan underneath it and line the bottom with a few inches of potting soil. In place of shredded newspaper, I could use some of the pine sawdust I picked up from a sawmill last summer to cover and act as the high-carbon input for each batch of kitchen scraps I added. Situated next to the wood stove with a cute little shovel to turn it, my little bin should get similar results as the NatureMill, I speculated hopefully.

I am off in search of the bucket today, and I shall report back in a few weeks how the experiment is going.

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