January 9, 2015 Christina Mullin

On my way to empty the compost pail into Valentina, my outdoor wooden composter.

This is a stencil I made for the inside lid of the Valentina Composter, listing all the ingredients you can compost.

Emptying my compost pail into Valentina. It takes 8-10 months for all the material to fully break down. When it’s hot outside, it goes faster.

Valentina Composter, with a bucket full of fresh composted material on top, ready to be added to the vegetable garden beds.

Composted material is nutrient rich. Most gardens, especially vegetable gardens are depleted of nutrients and adding organic compost to the beds helps the garden to thrive.

When Valentina is all filled up and needs to be left alone while the material decomposes, I made another composter just recently. I placed in my vegetable garden, so the worms can reach it and speed up the composting process.

This is another larger outdoor wooden compost bin I made from recycled wooden pallets I found on the street. Because it’s open, with no cover, I only put leaves, woody clippings and prunings and all sorts of unappealing vegetable plant remains, so I don’t attract the dreaded rodents.

I only started composting my plant based kitchen scraps 7 years ago. It’s become second nature for me to save all the organic & pesticide-free scraps from banana skins, old lettuce leaves, coffee grinds, egg shells, spoiled vegetables and fruit, chop them all up and add them to the compost pail I keep by my kitchen sink.

The benefits of composting are:
-Reduces the amount of waste that goes out to our overfilled landfills
-Recycling that waste
-Turning that waste into free nutrient rich material
-Your garden will thrive with all the compost added to it and attract beneficial insects as well.
-Composting is rewarding!
-Makes a great hostess gift! I’ve not only given a bucket of compost to a garden loving friend but also a jar of precious worm juice.


Issues that may occur when composting:

-The composter smells: add leaves, shredded newspaper or a bucket of potting soil.
-If the compost attracts flies, add shredded newspaper or cover the material with potting soil. If you don’t mind the flies, they will probably lays eggs, and larva will soon appear. They can be quite helpful at speeding the decomposing process up.
-If the material looks too wet, add shredded newspaper and mix it up.
-If the material looks too dry, add a little water and mix it in.
-If the material is not breaking down as fast as you feel it should be, add red wriggler worms, as they do help at speeding up the decomposing process. Worms also create a fantastic liquid referred to as “worm juice.” If you are able to collect it, add a pan underneath the composter to capture this natural fertilizer. Worm juice is very concentrated so when using in the garden, add a 1/4 cup to each large watering can and water the soil around the plant, rather than right on the plant, as worm juice can sometimes be too intense for some sensitive plants.

-Rodents love composting materials, so make sure that your composter has a lid and strong one.


What not to compost: Meat, fish, chicken, bones, cheese, milk, butter, salad dressing, cooked food, weed seeds, diseased plant material, disposable diapers, dog or cat feces, glossy newsprint, and coal ash.


Most tools I use for composting are available here (except the Valentina Composter which is temporarily sold out):