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Free Dirt!



One of the first things I did when we moved into our house, after setting up my garlic garden bed, was set up a compost pile. I honestly have been too excited for a long time to do this. Why? Because compost makes dirt, and free dirt is way better than expensive dirt. It also is better dirt. I started with a cardboard box left over from when we moved and set it in the backyard. As it was fall, I put a healthy number of leaves at the bottom and when I started throwing food scraps in, I would try to layer leaves in between. I am sad to say, I still have that box as my compost bin, but I am certain that soon Bryan will have time to build me a permanent structure. Until then, my cardboard box is looking sad. It is all flopped over on one side from the dogs nosing it, and wildlife. But the more I fill it, the more it breaks down. So, what I am doing must be working.

Other than free dirt, why compost? Ok, my Oregon roots are going to show a bit here. When you throw your scraps into the trash, they end up going to a landfill. At this landfill, the bags are buried and oxygen is not able to get in to break down the contents. This causes the contents to create methane and greenhouse gases causing the earth’s temperature to rise. Now, I know some may not believe in global warming, and that is fine. I am not an expert and I do not have an opinion on the matter. However, if it is possible that composting could help, then why not?

Another great reason to compost is your trash can will not be as full. The stuff you can throw into your compost is an extensive list. According to The United States Environmental Protection Agency, the following list of items can be thrown into your compost bin, instead of your trash can:


  • Fruits and vegetables

  • Eggshells

  • Coffee grounds and filters

  • Tea bags

  • Nut shells

  • Shredded newspaper

  • Cardboard

  • Paper

  • Yard trimmings

  • Grass clippings

  • Houseplants

  • Hay and straw

  • Leaves

  • Sawdust

  • Wood chips

  • Cotton and Wool Rags

  • Hair and fur

  • Fireplace ashes


To read more about what you can and cannot put in compost please go to the following link.

United States Environmental Agency: https://www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home

That is a lot of stuff.

Some places online can make composting seem difficult, but there is no one way to compost. You can experiment and put as much or as little effort into it as you want. I know, I need to turn mine, and get a thermometer in it to see if it is hot. I have yet to do this. It just feels nice for the moment to take my scraps to a place that will eventually turn into dirt, that will nourish my garden, and then the garden will nourish my family by producing food. It is a cycle, and being a part of this cycle makes me feel like I am working with nature, as we all were intended to.


If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out. If you do decide to compost, please share photo's and your stories. I love to talk garden and dirt :)

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