kim b.’s earthday pledge: the joys of composting


Soon, I shall have rotting food in my kitchen. Right now, it’s in next to my patio.

OK, that joke is getting old. But I started composting the other week and I think it’s going OK. It’s not one of those fancy ones with the worms and such. Mine is more or less one of those big plastic bins with some newspaper, leaves and whatever is coming out of my kitchen. I punched some holes in it around the lid and in the bottom. (I got directions from You Grow Girl)

I really want to dig around and look for worms, because I was the kid that tortured others at the bus stop with worms after rainstorms. I think it would be cool to look at the worms eat my discarded artichoke stems and leeks. So far, I’ve only seen fruit flies. Someone tell me if that’s a problem.

Click through to the next page to read the rest of Kim’s compost adventure.

I’m waiting on a kitchen compost crock from Amazon. A crock will let save me all the little trips to my bin, because I’ll put my compostable items in there. The smell won’t be a problem because there’s a filter forthat.

But the benefit of composting to me is not the compost (which I’m going to give to a gardening friend). It’s all about less waste. You’d think that when you throw biodegradable stuff away, that it would do so at the landfill. But when yo put it in a plastic bag, it’s harder to biodegrade, and on top of that, I’ve learned that they try NOT to let things biodegrade at the landfill because it smells. So the less you send to the landfill, the better and something like 40 percent of your waste is compostable.

So grab a plastic bin and the remnants of cooking dinner and get going.

Do you compost? WIth worms or a different way?

Kim B., who lives on the Central Coast of California, runs All That and A and Decorazzi when she’s not trying to be an interior designer, chef, or prize-winning journalist. It’s time consuming.

From our partners

for the past few years i’ve been saving my kitchen waste into a compost bucket and taking it to the community gardens compost heap. now, i’ve decided to build a worm composter following the guide in Martha’s March issue of MS Living. My friend has some red wigglers ready to donate and I can’t wait to get started!

I have a worm bin in my kitchen. It’s two rubbermaid containers nested together, with drainage and airholes in the top one. I got the worms by mail from a farm in missouri. I add vegetable scraps–usually trimming from food prep–a few times a week. I’ve had it going for a couple of months, and my worms are alive and making steady progress. I’m guessing the castings will be ready to sort out within a month.


We have green bin service in Seattle that we use for our food waste. It’s great for people who live in apartments, condos and townhouses! Right now, I keep scraps in a plastic bowl until it gets full or stinky before taking it out to the bin. I’m expecting this to arrive any day now:


The worms for a food composting bin are not the same worms that are in your yard. I started a worm bin last year, (same style as nita) and it lived happily under the kitchen sink all winter. See if you can get a starter of worms from someone, they are called red wrigglers.


There is no way in hell I could live with a worm composter in my kitchen. Or a slop bucket inside. Ga-ross!

I started a compost bin in the yard just a month or so ago; so far, it contains yard trimmings from cleaning one of the gardens out and plenty of kitchen refuse. I have a small plastic bowl next to the sink that I fill with coffee grinds, potato and banana peels, whatever, and I toss it in the bin every couple of days. I’m just using a plastic trash bin with lock-on lid, full of holes, for my bin.

Mary T

I love composting and especially love the aggressive composting in Seattle. We actually live just outside the jurisdiction in King County so our composting may be slightly different, but they even accept pizza boxes. I just like having as little waste as possible. If you do garden, I once did an experiment where I worked compost into the soil around my tomato plants. They did MUCH better than the others.

Martha Stewart two months ago (March issue) had a very nice section about composting and troubleshooting it. Fruit flies means you are not burying the fruit deep enough under the leaves. I think she recommended 2-3 inches.


I use a disposable plastic container that I keep in the freezer to accumulate food scraps in the kitchen. Occasionally there’s a faint whiff of banana when i open it, but it’s easy and not very gross–when it’s full i pop it into the compost bin and it thaws out right away as i mix it in.