Friday, December 4, 2009

It’s not easy being green

We’ve been striving to be greener lately.

We’ve got separate containers for recyclable things. At one time, I thought the list of recyclables was rather short; just the things that have that circular arrow logo on them.

Recently I saw an ad for the ultimate recycling system. You dump nearly anything, short of spent nuclear rods, into a barrel mounted on a giant rotisserie. Turn the crank every day and, in a few months, voilà: compost.

Dual Chamber Compost Buddy

Compost is good for your garden. Especially your vegetable garden. And what could be more perfect? Garbage in, soil out. Beautiful red ripe tomatoes grown from the rotten tomatoes that hid out in the back of the crisper for three months.

At around $700, the dual barrel deluxe composter with a special sifter and polyester cover is a little steep. People have told me that you need nothing but an area to use for a compost pile. Enclosing it with a short wood wall is a nice addition, but not a requirement.

Of course, this inexpensive composting system comes with some extra work. Rather than strolling out in your Sunday suit with white gloves on and turning the crank a few times, you have to turn the pile with a pitchfork and suffer the release of methane gas.

Next spring, we’ll make a decision on which way to go. If I can hook up an electric motor attached to a timer, I may go with a totally automated version of the Dual Chamber Compost Buddy. How cool would that be?

Today, however, I learned about another composting system that requires no work. You don’t have to feed it. You don’t have to turn it. It’s completely hands off.

It’s called a rain gutter. In a short three or four years, you too can have compost. Perfect for a garden, yes. But why go to the trouble scooping it out of the rain gutter? Just toss in some seeds and start a vegetable garden ten feet off the ground.

It has the additional benefit of being out of reach of typical garden pests, like rabbits, skunks, and most deer. When those tomatoes and cucumbers are ready for picking, pull out the extension ladder and harvest your dinner.

For more gardening tips, you may want to try a different blog in the future.

Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt


  1. Costs money to be green doesn't it? Have you ever checked out price differences of Energy Star appliances to regular appliances? Oh, but the will pay for themselves. I will be dead by then. thanks.

  2. Good Morning MR.Hunt,

    Going green is a matter of looking at what you can compose that will allow you to actually get a benifit from what you do and at the same time reduce what you need to take to the transfer station.

    Composting is something I have found to be one way to build up poor soil, especially here on the Cape and if one enjoys fishing it also provides a good supply of worms,

    The added benifit of enriching the soil can also result in a better vegetable,flower garden as well.

    One does not need to really invest a great deal of money, but a dedtication to how and when you choose to compose.

    One only needs to have a little space in some obscure part of your yard. Build a round thin wired fencing,that is supported with metel supports to attach the fencing too. Chicken wire will do, but if you want it to last a better quality coated wire]green in color] would be a better chioce. and it would blend into your yard a little better and at the same time remind you of your job in the recycling effort.

    It is best to have the fencing go below the ground severel inches. Four foot high is adquate

    One could build severel depending upon the space you have.

    One could simply start by placing all your newspapers ,cardboard on the bottom [do not use the shiny paper that come with some papers[well at least I do not use it. After severel layers have been distributed,[torn or whole]your choice,place some of your leaves, old small branches again do severel inches. During the week all the non meat items that you normally use and would be thrown away are saved and placed on top of the mulch pile and shovel a little soil to just cove enough of the pile to activate the decomposing process with a little water. One would continue this until the pile is severel feet above the fencing.

    One could do the same process with just leaves or garbage along with newspapers and cardboard.

    Watering can be important for a faster turn around or if you have enough space and can place mulitple piles nature will take it course.

    Leaves being composted should have a little lime added and if one has any left over fertilizer of any kind it can also be added when ever.

    Now as the composting starts to work;basically no smell, unless one uses fish racks like I will occasionally use, but buried under a good supply of paper and leaves, but if the composting bins are far enough away from the house you will hardley notice any thing after a few day composting.

    Now if you like to fish go out after a good rain and pick a few night crawlers and place them on the pile and put newspapers on top of them until they work themselves into the compose. The works will aid in airrating the mulch and mutiply in numbers . The more worms one can introduce back into any garden the better the crop.

    It make take a year or more before one can get enough useable mulch to use, So make the holding places large enough to take care of the leave fall,pine needles you may get each fall.
    If you feed it with good garbage, fertilizer water nature will do all the rest.

    Animals will not be a problem if you do it right.

    Now on the other hand you could take it to the transfer station and let the town compose it and pick it up in a few years with all the glass,stones not sifted out when they screen it because of folks whom did not put enough effort into what they discarded.

    This requires a fine screen to be made up and do your own screening to be sure that you do not put this back into your own garden

    I would be more then happy to provide some on the job training in your personal effort to go green as I believe we all should find alternative ways to reduce our footprint as wasteful humans.

    MR J

  3. wasteful humans? Speak for yourself

  4. Sears sells a compost tumbler for about $200.I had a similar one for several years which worked quite well.


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