I would like to introduce you to “Mr. Compost”, a resident of “The Refuge”, (and my brother-in-law).  He will be our guest blogger today.  As you can see from his name, he knows a thing or two about composting.
Mr. Compost turning his composter.
You may have seen those “Turn Your Gold Into Cash” commercials on TV and if you had a lot of extra gold lying around your house, it would be appealing.  However, you have something even better that you are probably throwing away that can be turned into “gold” for your soil; kitchen scraps.
 
Kitchen Scraps include apple cores, coffee grounds, egg shells, garden clippings, oranges and peels, bread and grass.
The smaller the pieces, the easier it is for the bacteria to break them down.
   
Fruity Girl and Daisy Mom add kitchen waste to the composter.

That’s right, instead of throwing away your vegetable scraps, you can create a place to compost those scraps and turn them into soil enhancers.
 

“Black Gold”
There are many websites about composting that you can visit to get you started on the composting process, but you can get in the habit of putting those scraps into a separate container so you can eventually put them back into your soil and enhance your garden.
Refuge resident, Fruity Girl
 
Get your whole family involved and have fun!
 *Okay, if you have been inspired, (and who hasn’t?) by Mr. Compost to start composting yourself, there is great information on how to get started here.
Many communities offer free workshops and compost bins to residents.  Check out your local waste management department’s website to see if they are offered in your area.  The majority of cities in the Phoenix metro area offer classes and compost bins).

**For additional information, please visit GippsLandGardener and read another post about composting.

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."

25 replies
  1. Martha Z
    Martha Z says:

    We once were avid composters. We had three large wire bins that my husband turned regularly. Now we live in an area with strong CC&Rs and I'm not sure we could get away with it. With no fences to hide behind we certainly couldn't use the big bins. Maybe we could use one like you show here, if I can find a way to comoflage it.
    I can't even hang out my laundry but must put it on racks in the guest room!

    Reply
  2. Liza
    Liza says:

    Hi Noelle, thanks for the good information. I asked my landlady about composting and she said it attracts too many cockroaches (I'm in downtown Albuquerque), so she won't let me. 🙁

    Reply
  3. tina
    tina says:

    My favorite thing to do in the garden. Mainly because it takes no work from me other than walking the scraps to the compost bin:)

    One thing I do differently though is I save the eggshells separately. I put all eggshells in a paper bag where they dry. Right now the bag is nearly full. Once dried or too many I stomp on the bag and crush them then I sprinkle them on my gardens directly. This is a great thing for birds in the spring when they need extra minerals. Finches love the shells. Some folks even put them in plates for the birds. As another bonus I think it helps dissuade slugs because they can be sharp. They slowly fall down into the bed but look cool all nice and white when first sprinkled. Great pictures!

    Reply
  4. Rosie (Leaves n Bloom)
    Rosie (Leaves n Bloom) says:

    I'm not very good at making my own compost – I usually get my compost bin uplifted every 2 weeks for community composting – then whenever we need free compost we can go to the centre and pick some up.

    Reply
  5. Jeff
    Jeff says:

    I too once had an elaborate composting system with four bins and plenty of compost production.

    In the desert, however, the job of maintaining just the right water-ratio is a bit problematic for me.

    Also…the scorpions and other creatures seem to like the open bins. I notice in the first picture, there is an enclosed barrel with a crank. How well does that work? Do you have any idea where to purchase one? How much sun/shade should it have in the desert?

    Reply
  6. Nicole
    Nicole says:

    We compost all our kitchen scraps-here in the tropics its easy-just dig a hole around a tree or in your bed and put in the scraps and they dissolve into the soil in a month or two. If you are potting, you can just put the scraps as a middle layer in the pot.

    Reply
  7. Autumn Belle
    Autumn Belle says:

    Noelle, good job on this post about composting. I am doing composting layer by layer in a big flower pot. I still have problem getting a suitable composting bin and still cracking my head over this. Cheers to you and Mr Compost!

    Reply
  8. Shady Gardener
    Shady Gardener says:

    I couldn't NOT compost! It's amazing how much excess gets thrown in the garbage pail, when it's perfectly easy to throw in a pile (that's all I do – I'm a slow composter) and eventually it breaks down. I use 1/2 of my pile for "new stuff" and move it from side to side occasionally. 🙂 NO Smell!

    Reply
  9. fairegarden
    fairegarden says:

    Preaching to the choir here, Mr. Compost! We have taken it a step further and the goal is zero trash, or as close as possible. Between composting and recycling and refusing to buy things that are overpackaged, *No thanks for that bag, I can just stick it in my purse!*. Well that might be difficult for guys, but thinking about what we put into the trash is a good thing. Fruity Girl is an excellent helper! 🙂
    Frances

    Reply
  10. James Missier
    James Missier says:

    That is surely fun to get the whole family to get into the project.
    Its a bit difficult to get this done in a very tight area.

    Have you heard about Garbage Enzyme? Its something similar to this.
    Do check on google on this topic.

    Reply
  11. Carol
    Carol says:

    Great post Noelle! As always you have a wonderful way of getting the whole family involved! All the more to help take out the compost bucket!! ;>))

    Reply
  12. Janet
    Janet says:

    I like the roller composters. Don't have one right now, looking into them….have worms right now but think once we move to SC will do a tumbleing composter.

    Reply
  13. lostlandscape (James)
    lostlandscape (James) says:

    I saw a rotary composter at the end of last summer and was tempted to buy it. When I went back it was gone–the last one of the season and they weren't going to be getting any more in until this spring. Well, I'll be quicker to act next time!

    Reply
  14. Andrea
    Andrea says:

    Hi Noelle, he certainly looks to be enjoying the task. Most of us must also enjoy composting as much as we enjoy our gardens. BTW, your daughter looks Asian to me!

    Reply
  15. Brett and Jennifer Humphrey
    Brett and Jennifer Humphrey says:

    My wife, Daisy Mom, bought me a Compost Tumbler for Christmas last year and we throw all of our kitchen scraps into that. (We also add newspaper that has been shreddd and soaked with water along with dryer lint and whatever we have in the vacuum bag.) We find that the Compost Tumbler makes a good place to store the scraps and once the bin is 2/3 full it only takes about 2 weeks to make completed compost. Our biggest problem is it takes quite a while to fill the bin 2/3 full because things start breaking down right away.
    Mr. Compost

    Reply
  16. gardeningAngel
    gardeningAngel says:

    That is a great compost "post"! I would really like a barrel – currently I have a black recycled bin, and a very large compost piling area that get turned nicely by my Alaskan Malamute grubbing for critters. Winter composting is hard, but I figure sooner or later it thaws out again.

    Kathy

    Reply

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