Vermont Garden Journal: Let's Cut The Scrap And Get Composting

Sep 28, 2018

As the Vermont Mandatory Recycling & Composting Law creeps closer to the 2020 deadline, it's time for all gardeners to think about food scrap composting. While waste haulers and composting operations are starting to take food scraps as part of their business models, home owners should get creative about food scrap composting, too.

So let's cut the scrap, and get composting. There are a number of ways to collect, store and compost food scraps. I'll share a few here, but let me know your favorite way to recycle this great resource.

The first is simple. Using a metal or plastic bucket with a lid, collect fruits, vegetables, breads, coffee grounds, egg shells and other kitchen scraps. Some people like to shred the scraps so more fit in the bucket. Once filled, add the bucket of food scraps to an outdoor compost bin. Tumblers and cones are best for these materials and keep rodents out. The other key is to have a source of brown material such as hay, straw or chopped leaves handy. With every pail of kitchen scraps you add, throw in a handful of brown materials. Mixup the bin periodically to help decomposition and remove the finished compost annually to use in your garden. Most people should avoid composting meats, bones and dairy unless you have a real hot composting operation. There are also some commercial composters that can handle these items. Some of these are indoor electric composters that use intense heat to break down everything without any smells or flies.

You can also compost in your garden bed. Dig a trench in your bed or path and bury food scraps in the trench. You can feed the scraps to yours or the neighbor's chicken, too. They love them! So do worms if you're into vermicomposting. Just remember you'll probably produce a lot more food scraps then the worms can handle.

Now for this week's tip: transition tropical houseplants indoors now and quarantine them from other houseplants, watching and spraying for insects.