Compost: The Beginning


About two years ago, we upped our veggie intake and I was eating a salad almost every day for lunch. When preparing meals, we were creating a lot of trash with all of the parts of a veggie that we didn’t eat. Honestly though, my husband does most of the cooking so he was probably doing most of the throwing away. I realized what was going on once his job moved him out of Northern Virginia and my job/grad school kept me there. Once I was doing most of the throwing away, I started thinking about composting. I knew nothing about it, except that my sister-in-law had her husband buy her a composter for some holiday. She had shown it to me one time when I was visiting and it seemed like a great concept.

As always when I decide I want to do something or have something or buy something, I did my research about composting. I read this website and this website and this website. The first two are about the science of composting and the third is about what can be composted. I read more and more every time I thought about it. Because my husband had moved, I was planning to at the end of the both my teaching school year and grad school year. We started looking to buy a house and I knew one way or another we would have a compost pit. We bought a house in May of 2012 and it didn’t need a ton of work, but a compost pit was not a top priority.

One of the things that quickly became a priority was the deck, if you could really call it that. We knew when we bought the house that if we wanted a deck, we would end up replacing the one there. It was made of wood and it was securely nailed together. The problem was how it was resting on the ground. Whoever had built it has just rested it on bricks. Like chimney bricks, just regular old bricks. Some of the bricks weren’t even whole! We had hoped that it would last at least a year so we could focus on some other projects.

In comes Chai to this story. Chai is probably about four years old now and she can be a little OCD when it comes to balls, toys, or anything of that nature. The chocolate lab in her wants to chew until it has been successfully destroyed.

Chai by the fire.

Chai by the fire. She generally doesn’t like her picture taken so I have very few where it’s not just a brown blur.

Chai was okay with our deck. She liked it more when she discovered the tennis balls that another dog had buried underneath of it. There was only a few inches between the deck and the ground so Chai was digging to get to the tennis balls. So the deck had to go. Of course, we waited until about 20 minutes before the sun set one night to do it, but the deck went.

DJ pulling apart the deck.

Deck demo

As my husband worked on the deck (there were too many spiders underneath the boards for me to be of much help) I started thinking about my compost pit again. We could throw away all of this wood and spend a lot of money to buy more OR we could save the wood and build a compost pit. So after more research on building one and my husband doing his own research, he started using the deck wood to build my pit on our anniversary last year.

The beginnings of a pit

The beginnings of a pit

I was pretty stoked. It surprised me how excited I was that he was spending valuable anniversary time working on this. He didn’t finish it that day. There were several trips to Lowe’s and Home Depot for the right screws and latches and hinges but pretty soon we had a finished pit. Now we’ve had it for a little over a year and there is some excellent compost down there. We use it whenever we plant anything from our vegetable garden to our flower beds to new trees in the yard. The only problem we had was when we put it in our veggie garden and the dogs watched us. They tried to dig into it for a few days but eventually stopped.

Compost Pit In Action

Compost Pit In Action

I love this thing and would highly recommend having some place to compost. Even if you don’t use it for a garden, it’s a great way to take the trash out less and stop filling up the landfills as much!

Do you compost? What’s your method?


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