This post is by regular contributor Kate Gribble of An Everyday Story.
Do you compost? I realised recently, as I was peeling and slicing vegetables for dinner, that most of our general rubbish was fresh food scraps; wonderful, nutrient dense scraps just going straight into the bin. I guess I’ve never really been overly environmentally conscious. It’s a little embarrassing for me to say. We recycle…except on the days when I have forgotten which week the bin goes out and so it’s full…then everything goes in the general trash. Terrible, I know. We use far too much single-use plastic and could absolutely be more conscious of our water usage.
The other day my son Jack (4yrs) was asking about three wooden bins we have in the back of our new yard, ‘What are they Mummy?’
‘They’re compost bins?’
‘Compost bins? What’s a compost bin?’
We talked about feeding plants and about returning nutrients to the earth. He was fascinated, ‘Let’s make some compost, Mummy.’
So we headed down to the hardware store and picked up a lidded container for our food scraps. Jack made a label for the front, and we placed it under the sink.
Then came the learning, all the wonderful, hands-on, natural learning. We:
- Talked about different kinds of rubbish
- Sorted rubbish – recycling, compost, general waste
- Talked about compost and how we use it
We also read about composting and recycling from some books we had on our bookshelves.
Sorting the fresh food scraps for the compost bin is now part of our daily food preparation. Jack and Sarah happily add the tops of their strawberries, carrot skins and apple cores to the bucket, while deciding that their sultana boxes need to go in the recycling.
At the moment we are still collecting food scraps. We’ll most likely make a small compost bin for Jack and Sarah to look after. Here’s how to make your own compost bin, if like me, you weren’t quite sure.
How to Make a Compost Bin
Extracted from The Little Gardeners Guide by Niki Horin.
1. Collect your materials:
- Lidded plastic garbage bin
- Garden waste – lawn clippings, dead plant growth, old plants
- Dry waste – straw, shredded newspaper
- Kitchen waste – fresh scraps, no meat, no dairy
- Watering can
2. Cut the bottom out of a lidded plastic bin. The compost needs to be in contact with the ground.
3. Layer the waste in the bin – dry waste, then kitchen waste, then garden waste.
4. Water well and pop on the lid.
5. When you add more kitchen waste, make sure to add a dry waste layer on top and water well.
6. When the bin is full, give it a good mix…then wait….
Your compost is ready when the waste has broken down completely and is dark and flaky.
Jack and Sarah really enjoy popping their food scraps in the compost bucket. And while I don’t think they quite understand how the food breaks down they do understand that we are making food for the plants in our garden; understanding the connectedness of us and our environment.
Do you compost? Do your children help you?