Sunday, June 28, 2009

The ABC's Composting

A composting testimony I’d like to share
by Harameeyah B. Israel
KOY - Office of Environmental Affairs

Last March, I began composing my kitchen wastes and those from Soul Veg Tallahassee. These wastes include just about everything: carrot shavings/stems, onion peelings, tomato stems, rotten fruit, fruit cores (i.e., apple, etc.), avocado skin, shredded paper, coffee grounds, paper towels, etc. The main wastes, however, were green stems from the restaurant. Since we cook greens everyday, my composter was full of greens.

In January, I started to notice an odor that got worse and worse. So in March I finally buried the compost (which had become a putrid smelling sludge--like what greens or lettuce looks like when it goes REALLY bad) in an empty garden plot in my back yard that had previously been only grass and dirt. About a month later I noticed some greens coming up--a nice size plant, as if I had planted it there myself. Needless to say I was amazed.

About a month ago (early May) I found some more things growing that looked like weeds, so I turned them over and figured when I got back from Israel I’d have a nice fertile plot to start with. When I returned from Israel (4 weeks later) I found the entire plot filled with plants! I assumed they were weeds, but when I took a closer look I saw little green bulbs. The compost became a tomato garden! I could not have done better if I’d done it on purpose.

This speaks to the importance of composting. It is a simple matter of separating biodegradable wastes from trash. Not only does this reduce the amount of waste in landfills but since the decomposition of organic material sent to landfills is a principal cause of methane gas (an important greenhouse gas), this reduction is also key in fighting against climate change. It also speaks to the idea of following a divine natural order and eliminating our negative impact on the planet.

Note: The reason my compost was smelling bad is because I had too many “greens” and not enough “browns“. I currently have a successful compost pile which consists of the same kitchen/restaurant wastes as well as shredded paper (usually my junk mail), dirt, and dead leaves. This has solved the odor problem.

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