The ToBox team recently had the pleasure of visiting our good friend Chef T over at LA Kitchen to watch her magic in action as she prepared a “no waste” pesto recipe. If you haven’t already gotten on board with our 14 days of Loving Our Planet better we invite you to check that one out before reading.
On day 5 we’d like to pay homage to a complementary action to no waste recipes-composting! Compost is a great way to reduce waste as well as build a strong nutrient dense foundation for growing your own organic garden. With over 5 millions tons of waste created every Holiday in the US, it’s also a great way to give back to your planet.
Whether it’s your first time in the garden or you’re just making a switch to organic - this 5 step, 30 day compost is key!
Step 1- The Shred and Chop
For this step I like to go by the less is more rule. Apply your culinary skills to your materials and chop or shred them as small as possible. This will speed up the degradation process.
Step 2- It’s all in the mix.
There are two basic ingredients for compost. There are carbon-rich materials which appear dry brown in color including leaves, hay and straw. The other, are wet greens which include your kitchen left overs and grass clippings. Use the latter sparsely and mix them in well to avoid weighing your mat down. There should be a fair mix of these throughout your pile.
Step 3- It’s getting hot in here.
You want your pile to be at least 4 ft on all sides including height because without it, the microbial decomposers making your compost won’t be activated. A pile of 4x4x4 ensures your materials will heat up quickly and decompose. You’ll have to turn your pile occasionally, so make sure the height is manageable for you.
Step 4: Here comes the water works.
The key to composting is keeping it moist, but not drenched. It should feel like a damp sponge. If you live in a more humid climate you may need to cover it to protect it from becoming too soggy.
TIP: If you check the middle of your pile’s temperature after a few days and it’s warm it’s a good sign it’s working!
Step 5: Move it, move it!
Oxygen is the key to life on earth. By regularly rotating your compost you open up some much needed air holes. Be sure to replace center soil with outside soil and vice versa. You can also use a pitchfork type object to poke additional holes into your mix.
Voila! You’ve just created the best food an organic garden could ask for ;)
Not sure what to compost? Here’s a list of top 10 Kitchen Compost materials:
- Vegetable peels
- Fruit peels
- Egg shells
- Paper, paper towels and newspaper
- Tea leaves
- Coffee Grounds
- Pasta, rice, bread
- Dry fiber: toilet paper and paper towel rolls, egg cartons
- Citrus fruit
- Onion peels
- Pet feces
- Used tissues
- Grass cuttings and leaves
Be sure to tag us in your compost pics with #14DaysOfLovingOurPlanetBetter!