Saturday, December 5, 2009

Composted Memories

The various cups, plates and cutlery from our wedding going in the compost pile, June 2007

Nancy here.

Just as the snow started to fall today, I got to a project that has been on the list for some time: the annual emptying of our big compost bin. This led to sweet memories of our wedding two summers ago. What's the connection, you wonder?

The 2009 compost bin still has some room, but sometime in January the active pile freezes and then the bin fills up fairly quickly. So each fall, we empty out the compost that is two years old and prep a bin for the next year. By April the new pile is usually quite high, but then it thaws, heats up and sinks.

I was curious to see what would be in the 2007 pile as we had filled it with compostable plates (cardboard), cups (made of corn), and forks (ditto) at the end of our wedding weekend. We were informed by Aunt Joan that she had heard that these cups don't break down and that as a corn-based product, they aren't such a bargin for the environment. So... I can report that after two years of composting, I didn't find any paper plates. I did find cups and forks on the outer edges of the pile where things don't always heat up to 130 degrees. The found cups were mostly in stacks, though a few singletons were also present. In the middle I found a few remnants of the rims of the cups suggesting that the rest of the cup had successfully decomposed. I think in total, there are about 30 cups and 15 to 20 forks -- which is far fewer than went in to the pile.
Compost coming out of the pile and going into the cold frame today

The composted material was looking pretty good. In some years, the saw dust that we use as humanure cover material is still fairly present in the dirt, but by and large it was well rotted and gone in this pile. I put wheel barrow loads of the black gold in our cold frame and on the strawberry patch and rhubarb bed.

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