Katherine and I recently attended a free class on composting, put on by the City of Austin and the Sustainable Food Center. Compost is decomposed organic matter that is used in gardens as nutrient-rich soil. The idea of composting is to get organic matter that can decompose naturally and become beneficial compost out of landfills and into your garden. Since 26 percent of the garbage in the US can be composted, this is definitely a green activity that will benefit your garden and the planet. Visit the city’s website on composting for tips on how to start your own compost pile, if you have the space for it. Katherine, a very new homeowner, is making plans to create her own compost pile, and she will update us on her adventures as they develop.
Unfortunately, I live in a small apartment downtown with literally zero space for planting a garden, so most of the tips from the class were helpful only to educate me for my future plans to have a garden. But, as I was sitting there, I wondered what options for composting are available to us apartment dwellers. Turns out, there are two. One, I can save up compostable items, such as vegetable scraps and tea bags and newspaper, and then donate them to community gardens. Visit this website for a list of community gardens to contact about donating your compost materials. I found a couple near me who welcomed the idea of taking my compost donations. Also, while you’re at the website, consider joining in the gardening at the community gardens if you can’t do so at your apartment. The other way an apartment dweller (probably with a patio) could compost is by worm composting. By getting a bucket, some worms, and a little bit of dirt, compost can be made easily for potted plants, without needing a bunch of space.
P.S. While we were at the class, two city employees working on the Zero Waste plan were there to learn about composting in preparation for implementing some kind of composting plan with the city. Exciting! We’ll keep an eye out for any developments.