My first experience with composting was a failure. I tried adding brown; I tried adding green. I tried spiking the pile with manure. I ran the lawnmower back and forth over the weekend newspaper in an effort to produce digestible bits of carbon. I watered, turned, and fretted. And at the end of the summer I paid a guy $30 to scrape it all up and haul it away. (Fortunately, our yard-waste pickup service feeds a countywide, industrial-strength composting program, so ultimately my recalcitrant grass clippings and kitchen scraps did end up getting recycled, for which I am grateful although I can’t be said to be entirely grudge-free; I still have it out for stubborn vegetable matter.)
Here at the new house, we’ve noticed that our nonrecyclable garbage output has dropped to about one bag each week, and about 50% of that is compostable kitchen waste. We’d long intended to try composting again, not only to reduce garbage output (if we could make this final bag/week go away, we could cancel the pickup service altogether) but to save money on gardening — for we currently buy compost every Spring.
Here’s the result: DIY compost piles. I raked out the grade, set down a 15'x2.5' hoop of fencing material, and layered in this week’s yard waste. I didn’t intend to build a second pile, but the first one filled up so quickly I figured I might as well take advantage of momentum.
I’ll check the pile in a few days. If it’s hot, I’ll have succeeded. If not, well, I’ve still got the number of that hauling company.