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A solution to the food composting dilemma!

Dscn0093 Well, after weeks of researching and slightly obsessing over the perfect method for composting our food scraps, I actually came up with a very simple one. First, I bought my kitchen scrap bucket. I ended up with the stainless steel composter from Endurance. It holds one gallon and has a carbon filter in the lid. I was able to store five days worth of scraps (vegetable, fruit, egg shells and coffee grounds) with zero smell. Plus, it's so pretty that I don't mind if it sits on the counter. I also like its small size and you can put it in the dishwasher if it gets too mucky. (Bought it at Sur La Table in the Pearl for $46.)

For the outdoor composter, I took one of our Rubbermaid yard debris cans and drilled a bunch of 1/4 inch holes in the bottom for drainage and organism access, and a few more around the sides for air flow. This idea came to me after realizing that the Earth Machine was a good solution for someone (me) whose primary goal was keeping food out of the landfill (because it releases methane) and not so much to actually make compost. After looking at the Earth Machine, I realized I could tweak a garbage can to function in a similar manner, though it doesn't have the little trap door at the bottom to get the compost out. Not a problem. Also, a presenter in our Master Recycler class (yea!) told us that he had put his Earth Machine on his concrete driveway for four years, and while he put food scraps in it regularly, he never took anything out and he never filled it up. The stuff just kept decomposing down and down. Perfect.Dscn0095_2

I learned that you need to keep a balance of food and yard waste in your composter so that it doesn't stink and it breaks down properly. There are many theories on this, but a 50-50 blend of green (food, grass, fresh leaves) to brown (dead leaves, straw) is safe. Since we had neglected to rake up our fall leaves last year (woo hoo!), I had plenty to gather, so I piled them into another yard debris can for easy access when I dump in the food scraps. (The black one is the composter and the green one holds the leaves.) They are tucked behind a rhody close to the house so on rainy days I have no excuses (ha).

Also, an FYI: one of the biggest complaints about the Earth Machine is that rodents can easily get into it because of the open bottom. Well, hold on to your carrot tops, because they've created a perforated bottom made of durable plastic that should keep the critters out. It costs $7. You can buy it and the Earth Machines at the Metro Paint Retail Facility.

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