November 28, 2020

How to Compost in the City – Homesteading in the Modern World

After living in the city for the better part of a decade I found myself wanting to get back to nature more than ever. The funny thing was I had never been a part of nature but when you realize that you go weeks without even stepping on grass – you start to feel a disconnect. So I started my very own fire escape compost heap, that was located next to my fire escape BBQ grill (aka pigeon shit house). Now that I have moved out West, I have taken my homesteading to a new level that includes a vegetable garden as well as a 3 stage compost, but I still have my simple city setup as stage 1. So, here’s what you need to dramatically decrease those long trips to the dumpster and to harvest the best dirt ever to grow your herb. All you need is a plastic tub. I use a 7 dollar Rubbermaid tub that most people use to keep weird shit in their attic. The best way to start this tub is to grab some old newspapers and tear them up into shreads or since Fall is upon us, go outside and grab a few handfulls of dried leaves. Next up is the fun part. It’s amazing how much food we throw away on a daily basis, even if you are someone who cleans their plate. If you make fresh corn on the cob…put the shucks into the compost and after you eat the kernals put the cob in there too! Got some leftover food in the fridge that is past its due date? Toss it in the compost pile. Once you get a decent amount of rotting food in your compost, head outside and grab some more leaves or dirt or newsprint and make a layer above the stink and then add more food. It’s really easy to do and you can’t screw it up. If you live in a warm climate, head over to your local sporting goods store and pick up some live fishing worms and toss them into the tub. You will be amazed at how fast they break down your leftovers and beg for more. Now, there are many things you don’t want to compost and the way I play the game is if there is any question at all if it should be composted…don’t. This compost is going to be crack for your next garden and you want it to be as healthy and nutrient rich as possible and you don’t want to contaminate it with questionable items. Here’s a starter list of what not to compost…

Heavy Coated Paper
Human or Animal Shit
Meat Products
Milk Products
Weeds
Lime
Charcoal

And here’s a starter list of things you can compost!

Coffee grinds and filters
vegetables
biodegradable to go containers
eggshells
dryer lint
flowers
grass clippings
leaves
hair
newspaper
tea leaves

Now the final question is: why should you compost? The best reason is to cut back on landfill waste and to plan a garden. Growing your own food is cost effective and safer than all alternatives. Living in the city leaves many people wanting some kind of a natural hobby and a home compost bin can provide enough fresh earth to fill up a few window boxes from your own household waste. It’s just another small thing you can do to make a big difference.

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