Preface: I won’t spend time explaining why compost is important – that’s why we have Google. If you have some hours to kill, ask me about it in person.
The very first garden elements to be installed were the compost bins – they were built back in mid-October within a week of selecting the garden site. The bins are constructed from reclaimed wooden shipping pallets (approximately 40″ x 48″). The pallets are tied together using bailing wire to make a row of bins. Plastic mesh fencing was stapled across the front of the bins to hold in the compost materials.
The bulk of the compost material has come from bags of leaves and lawn clippings picked off the curbs prior to trash day. Unfortunately, this isn’t the time of year to expect a lot of green grass clippings (especially given the lack of rain). So to augment the yard waste, roughly twice a week we pick up fruit and vegetable scraps from Edible Arrangements on Highway 3 in Clear Lake City.
Edible Arrangements carves fresh fruit (pineapples, bananas, apples, strawberries, melon, etc.) into shapes, and arranges them into gift packages. Fortunately, the owner of the store (Juan Carlos Toffano) and his store manager Stephanie support recycling efforts and want to manage the store in an environmentally-friendly fashion. So roughly twice a week we drop off a trashcan for them to use to collecting fruit scraps throughout the day. It doesn’t really affect their operation – they just use our trashcan instead of their own, and at the end of the day we pick it up from the backdoor and they don’t have to haul it to the dumpster. So it benefits us both.
We haven’t been measuring the amount of fruit scraps we’ve collected, but 30 to 40-lbs seems to be about right for a good day. The fruit scraps get mixed into the top layers of the compost bins and disappear pretty quickly – even all the pineapple. If you happen to order an arrangement from that store, be sure to thank them for helping out our program.
We now have a second partner in our compost operation – Crossfire Thoroughbred Rescue. Annie Garcia is president of Crossfire, and she is happy “to help another great cause!” Today we made the first trip out to their site and collected horse manure from the pasture. We were only there a couple of hours, and since the field was muddy, a lot of the time was spent pushing a wheelbarrow back and forth through multiple gates between the road and the pasture. Hopefully next time we can pull straight into the pasture and make faster progress. It was a nice day to be outside, so it wasn’t a tough gig.
We will probably make another trip for manure after Thanksgiving and then not add anything else to the piles until they are ready for use. But we still need to turn them occasionally. If you want a good workout for your arms and back, let us know. We’ll reserve your spot in the Compost Fitness Program.