If we'd had access to the yard and the owner's blessing, I would have supplemented with a compost pile. I would still have used the compost bin for all those things that would be hard to compost--meat, fish, dairy, diapers, dog waste--but certainly all of my fruits, vegetables, and other compostables would have stayed with me to provide nice mulch.
Now we have the yard and even the compost bins with some old yard waste already decomposing. I've been happily adding kitchen waste since we moved in, finally able to make use of our sink-side collector again. Soon I will start turning the pile, as it's finally warm enough that the outer parts of the piles are no longer frozen.
But I'm faced with an interesting problem that I would not have encountered in Toronto. Bears. While not frequent visitors, they have made occasional forays into our yard, drawn by the fruit trees. (Note to self: when the fruit ripens, eat it fast enough that there's none left for the bears.) And from what I've been reading, kitchen scraps on a compost pile are also likely to draw them.
I've seen a number of solutions that I've been weighing:
- Only compost yard waste. Not a full solution since the whole point of composting for me has been keeping our kitchen waste out of the landfill.
- Lime. Sprinkling lime on the compost pile helps it break down more quickly and masks some of the smell. But the resulting mulch is usually alkaline and not necessarily good for using in the garden.
- Vermicomposting. That is, feeding kitchen waste to worms. Problem with this is that we don't have a good place to maintain a worm colony year-round.
- Indoor composting. There are now indoor composters that create heat via electricity. But they are expensive and use energy. I'd rather harness the sun.
- More secure composting containers. These can also be a bit pricey (though less than the indoor composter). Plus it will be hard to determine how animal-proof a container is until I put it to the test.
And just so I can add this into the "Home Audit":
To do in the next month:
- Buy lime at the hardware store and add to the two piles.
- Begin turning the piles.
- Research compost tumblers.
- Buy said compost tumbler.
- Try to generate less food waste by buying and preparing only what we will eat.
- Anybody have experience with bears and compost?
- Torontonians and other urban dwellers can weigh in too. I'm thinking specifically about raccoons and how people might be keeping them out of their bins.