Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How Composting Helps Fight Food Waste

I’m Megan and I’m a food waste fighter. I hate wasting food. Hate it. It breaks my heart to see food that was once perfectly good, get trashed. And it’s not only the food – all the resources it took to grow, water, transport that food was wasted too. I know, I know, this is a blog about composting, not food or waste reduction or anything else. But for me, composting and food waste go hand-in-hand.

Once I started composting, I really began to pay attention to my food waste. All those moldy and slimy fruits and vegetables past their prime were there, staring at me from the compost collector. I just can’t bear it.

I’ve learned to pay attention to my fruit bowl and crisper drawer. I’m using up odds and ends for salads and casseroles. Anything that’s really starting to go gets tossed in the freezer for use in soups or smoothies. Food waste 0. Megan 1.

Most of you smart readers are already doing this though, right? Well, here’s my favorite way to avoid food waste and also add material to my compost pile.

Vegetable stock.

Plain and simple.

Here’s what I do:

  1. Save all the odds and ends from veggies such as onion and garlic peels, ends of carrots and celery, mushroom stems, parsley stems, etc. Keep them in the freezer until you have enough to fill a pot. 
  2. Put your vegetable scraps in a pot and fill with water. Add a bay leaf and some salt and pepper if you’re feeling saucy. 
  3. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for about an hour. 
  4. Strain.
  5. See all the vegetable mush left in the strainer? Add it to your compost pile!

Food waste 0. Megan 100 million. Victory!

Vegetable scraps make some delicious stock to use in soups and stews, but also add nitrogen to my compost pile to keep it balanced. Once it breaks down, I add the finished compost to my vegetable garden. Those vegetables eventually end up in the stock pot and then … you guessed it – more material for my compost pile!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Why I Like Composting Better Than Gardening

Don’t get me wrong, I like gardening but, honestly, composting is my true love. Why? Here’s my top four reasons I prefer composting over gardening:

1. Composting Requires Less Time

Even in my small yard, I always feel like there is more work to be done. Weeds popping up, beds to mulch, landscaping to plan. My compost bin is relatively simple. I put stuff in, do as much “work” as I want with it, and out comes my beautiful finished compost.

2. Composting is So Productive

If you consider the small footprint of a compost bin compared to the rest of your yard, the compost harvest outperforms the harvest of tomatoes, peppers, and raspberries. And it is arguable just as beautiful.

3. My Compost Bin is Forgiving

I can be lazy with my compost and he forgives me. If I neglect my garden it starts to resemble a jungle or a parched desert depending on how much rain falls.

4. Composting Makes Me Feel Like a Rebel

This one is hard to explain. I can’t help but feel like an old lady as I plant petunias in my window boxes. Gardening is a pastime of responsible people. Composting makes me feel like I’m cheating the system. Down with the establishment! I’m going to keep my food scraps and make something awesome!

I know they are interconnected. My compost pile adds to the garden and the garden, in turn, gives back to my compost (cue “Circle of Life” soundtrack).  

Somehow I am more proud of my compost than I am of my garden. That black box full of rotting banana peels and dead plants holds a special place in my heart. J

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