Cuttings

Compost Smoothies

ILLUSTRATION BY MARILYNNE ROACH

I used to feel guilty putting all our food waste—great organic material—down the garbage disposal. When I got a compost bin from our local county, I started saving fruit and vegetable scraps in a bowl next to the sink and putting them in the bin. That worked fairly well—until the neighborhood beasties discovered it. Soon I was providing a raccoon smorgasbord each evening. Sometimes we had to listen to the horrible squeals of their arguments.

Then one day, as I looked at the bowl full of compostable goodies next to the blender, it hit me: Compost Smoothies! It worked. After I put a cup or two of water in the blender, it almost didn’t matter what else went in—the coffee grounds (with filter), egg shells, fruit and vegetable peels, dead potatoes, even cotton lint from the clothes dryer. My youngsters and their friends were delighted—they loved to make it as “yucky” as possible. They shouted enthusiastically, “Oh, Gross!” And the raccoons shouted “Oh, Darn”!

Poured over the leaves and grass clippings, it doesn’t attract critters and considerably speeds up the pile’s decomposition. The kids became experts, knowing just the right combination of water, paper, and peelings—and the “grosser” the better. Their skill at creating compost smoothies has given them an appreciation of recycling and a greater investment in the garden.

The raccoons may not be happy, but the earthworms are, and our compost is beautiful: fine-textured and rich. Happy kids, happy plants, and unhappy raccoons—it’s the perfect combination.

By Susan DeMersseman of Berkeley, California.


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