Turn your spoil into soil

Don't let your food waste, your vegetable peeling, go into the waste stream, not even the composting one of the municipality; make your own compost or give them to someone who composts

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

First of all let me say that, to all intents and purposes, you should try to reduce your food waste in the first instance but, and I know that well enough, there is always some that spoils or that cannot be reused.

And then there are the peelings and trimming. True, many of them could be rendered down into vegetable stock but who of us, nowadays, really has the time to do that – at least not all the time.

The best way that I have found, in dealing with food waste, if there ever is any, and with vegetable peelings, is to feed them to my chickens, who produce eggs for me, and the droppings then make, together with other things, such as waste paper, that also go into the composter, soil that is rich in nitrogen.

Keeping chickens, I know, does not work everywhere but where it does it is better still than just simple composting as it is a total win-win situation.

Earlier I suggested that you don't let your scraps go into the composting stream of the municipality but rather, if you cannot use them, give them to someone who makes compost for his or her garden.

The reason I said that is that the municipality uses your compostable materials and makes, well, compost from it which, in most cases, then is sold.. if you have a very benign local government they may give it to anyone willing to pick it up but in most cases it is a for-profit operation and thus why should you or I provide the materials for free.

You can make compost in many ways, from a simple heap, which will take longest to rot down, via a composter, where things happen a lot quicker, to a compost tumbler, which can produce rich compost soil within the space of a few month. A small tumbler can even be used on a patio or a balcony to make great fertile soil.

And what to do with this soil? Well, you grow a garden, even a small one, in planters and, even if you like flowers, you should grow food crops, mixed with flowers, if you so desire, to reduce at least some of your impact and your food miles.

Happy composting... the scraps, not you...

© 2013