Thursday, September 25, 2014

Every Homeowner Should Have a Composter! By MCR Trish H.

I bought a house last year moving from an apartment. What a lifestyle change! I was looking forward to having a garden, making the yard aesthetic, and growing food to eat. I was excited to learn composting as part of the experience. If I was getting a house, I wanted the whole package! I also wanted to get to know some of my neighbours. I was extremely fortunate to get into the Edmonton Master Composter Recycler Program ... like a dream come true.

During the winter, I found that the garbage in the house would get smelly because of the food waste thrown into it. In the apartment, I had just a small kitchen catcher that I would throw  into the outdoor bin. In a house, I had to have a larger garbage container and keep it in black bags for pickup once a week. As soon as I entered the house, I could smell the garbage. Once spring came, I obtained a free
black plastic composter and collected food wastes separately. Guess what? No more smell!

In the fall, I had the huge deck cut back to make more room for a garden. Being the thrifty person I
am, I thought about how I could reuse the wood. I had a garbage bin built from it, but there was still lots of wood left. I also used it to make a new matching back fence so had leftover wood from the newish but ugly previous back fence. I got new side fences built as they were a shambles. I had a few new fence boards leftover as well. All in all, I had a big pile of lumber taking up valuable space in my garage.

With a yard to care for, I quickly realized that a small compost bin just wasn’t going to be enough. I wanted a place to put my leaves in the fall and a place to throw garden waste, like greens and dying plants, and wanted to
keep the yard tidy throughout the year. As for the household food scraps, the black bin is sufficing for
the summer, but what about the winter household food scraps, what would I do with them? I am just starting a home business in natural therapies. What kind of impression would people have if they entered the house to smell garbage? That would be darn embarrassing and I didn’t want to go back to that! I tried worm composting but it didn’t suit me. What would I do? I was also enjoying having less garbage to dispose of as well. Another problem was that the quality of the garden soil wasn’t that great so the plants need something better.

Well, all of the problems have been solved! I used up the most of the leftover wood to build a bigger composter. In the fall, I will throw the leaves in it. I also plan to invite both of my immediate neighbours to put their leaves in the bin as well. There will be less mess with wind blowing leaves in my yard. I will have enough leaves to save some for use next summer to put in the black compost bin. I will stockpile the food scraps over the winter by letting them freeze outdoors, in the composter, or in the garage. I won’t have to bag any garden waste in the fall, and my plants will enjoy the rich soil from the composter. I also have the pride of knowing that I built it all by myself and proudly display it to others. I saved the scrap wood (previously living trees) from going to the dump and put it to good use! ... and my yard is tidy!

"Trish H. is a recent 2014 graduate from our MCR program and has hit the ground running. She's participated in our grasscycling championship, trade shows and loves to chat with friends and neighbours about waste."


  1. I also agree with you. Every homeowner should have a composter. It is a better option for waste management. Not just that, compost will improve the quality of all soil types. Compositor is considered as a soil conditioner and this will help to improve the texture of the soil enabling it to hold the moisture and nutrients, which is essential for the steady growth of plants.

  2. If you have collected the fall leaves then you can build your compost all winter and it will be ahead in the spring. Put al layer of leaves in the bin and tuck your kitchen waste into it. When there is no more room add more leaves. If it snows add more leaves so you will have a place to put the kitchen waste. The snow has extra nitrogen, contains air and distributes water nicely.

    I collect leaves and often the neighbours' garden waste. I'm not sure that composting does not clean diseases. Nature balances everything.

    I have had the compost bin steaming during every calandar month. Unfortunately I don't always build a perfect pile.