Monday, October 18, 2010

From table to table (with a few stops in between)

If you've been reading the blog for a while, you know that I kind of like to compost.
On a recent sunny Saturday, I worked on my compost pile sifting through decayed veggie peels and other food matter. That's the payment - one afternoon's worth of work once a year in exchange for being able to use drop off compost on Wednesday or Saturdays. And not only did I walk away with a large (recycled) yogurt container filled with what is considered "black gold", but also a better understanding of how food breaks down.

Seeing the compost get dumped from "cooking" for a few weeks and transferring it to a larger bin, you see the recognizable pieces in the mix. Corn cobs are still pretty much corn cobs and coconut shells are of the more determined to stay coconuts, but it's pretty amazing how most of the rest of it - orange peels, carrot tops, egg shells - all break down and start looking like dirt again.

I do work at a company that got its start in compost. In worm poop to be exact. But I'm in the design department and don't experiment much over with the lawn and garden crew other than eat lunch once in a while with them and use the fertilizer myself. So seeing the whole compost process was really helpful. And will make me way more diligent in removing stickers, rubberbands, and other foreign objects before piling it in my compost. I'm usually pretty good, but when sifting at the pile they're all still there, so better to remove 'em beforehand.

Post-compost on that sunny afternoon, I took my newly sifted black gold and planted a few containers of herbs (In upcycled containers of course! You can read the how-to in my upcoming book called ReMake It! In stores March 2011). The basil, pictured above, is sprouting already and I can't wait until it grows large enough to use it on the last of the season's tomatoes. Who knows what that dirt used to be - maybe at one time it was tomatoes and basil? I think the new plant feels right at home.

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