Monday, July 19, 2010

Taking care of your compost bin

Our compost cart took a turn for the worse this week, erupting with hundred’s of tiny (really awful) larvae. This is the second outbreak this summer and it suddenly occurred to me that there might be a way to avoid it.

After a bit of research I discovered that we have inadvertently been cultivating the growth of pests in our compost cart. To get out of this nasty cycle, Fundy SWAT recommends the following:

• Crumple newspaper in the bottom of your compost cart to absorb liquid.

• Tightly wrap meat, bones, fish & dairy in newspaper to deter flies. The newspaper will provide a natural carbon filter.

• Include garden clippings, wood chips, evergreen branches, sawdust, leaves, or baking soda in your cart to act as a natural filter.

• Always put your cart out for collection on pick-up day.

• Regularly rinse the cart with a garden hose.

• Make sure that the air vents at the bottom of the compost cart are kept clear. These holes enable the compostable material to receive air, helping to keep it from getting smelly.

• Rub Vicks Vapour Rub or A535 (a muscle ointment) on the air vents on the Compost Cart to mask odours and deter animals.

• Store your compost cart in a ventilated, shaded area.

• If you have a large amount of meat or fish, freeze it until compost pick-up day.

• If you do get bugs in your compost cart, sprinkle garden lime in your cart. (It raises the pH level, creating the wrong environment for the larva to live.) Also try cleaning your cart with a toilet brush using a mixture of warm water and borax (2 T to 1 litre of water)

Don’t let bugs (or other pests) deter you from using your compost. Something as simple as tossing food waste in the bin can cut your household waste – and what goes into the landfill – by as much as 40%.

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