This past week I have had the pleasure of attending the Resource Recycling Conference in New Orleans as part of a grant I was awarded. I met all sorts of amazing people and have really great ideas that I’m bringing home to figure out how to implement them in our area, but the one thing that we are already doing amazing with is composting.

On the county level, the Solid Waste District has a compost site located on Zigler Road in La Porte that residents of La Porte are able to bring their grass clippings, branches, leaves and other types of yard waste to and drop it off for free. Businesses are allowed as well but do have to pay a small tipping fee.

From there we are able to chip most of the larger wood items and turn them into mulch, while the other items are able to be mixed together and then left to break down as we turn them into compost. Granted, the making of compost on a larger scale is a bit more trickier of a balance compared to what you or I make at home, but it eventually does happen and we are able to then keep our compost site sustainable by selling our mulch and compost that we have made to homeowners and businesses.

Composting is one of my most favorite things to talk about because all great growing starts with having the best soil that you can afford. And while gardening isn’t always the cheapest of hobbies to get involved in, making your own compost at home can be completely free. Of course I teach classes through the Solid Waste District of La Porte County to introduce people to the basics of composting, but also I welcome experienced gardeners of all levels to attend and let me help them to troubleshoot any composting issues they may be having.

Often times it is something that just needs a little fine tuning such as adding in more dry ingredients to balance out the wet items in your pile, or vise versa. Most of our country is trying to convert their public compost sites into being able to accept organics, which in this case refers to all food waste. While in our area that requires an entire different permitting process through IDEM, we are currently not able to accept food waste.

However, composting is so easy that it can be done small scale even if you don’t have a yard to do it. I know plenty of folks that have started compost bins under their kitchen sinks and have been having great success. And when I say that I’m talking no gnats, no smells and they are actually making compost right there from their leftover banana peels, coffee grounds and more.

If you would like to learn how to compost or maybe even just fine tune what you have going on, I will be teaching composting classes at our new compost site on Zigler Road this Wednesday, Sept. 4. You can choose whichever time fits you best and RSVP to attend. Classes will be held at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Call 326-0014 to let us know when to expect you, so that I can be sure to bring enough materials along with me.

Our area is doing amazing things. While we hear other areas are switching to organic food waste pickups, our county is doing a fine job of not having to transport our food any further than our own compost containers.

 

Sacha Burns is an organic gardener and owner of Sunkissed Organics in Pinola. She may be reached at sachabrittburns@yahoo.com.

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