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Dave P of Mountain View’s Compost Story

October 10th, 2010 · No Comments

Name: Dave P.
City: Mountain View
Why did you start composting?: To reduce the amount of garbage we send to the landfill.
How do you fit composting into your busy day?: We keep a stainless steel bucket under the kitchen sink so we only walk to the outdoor compost bin when it’s convenient (or needed) to empty the bucket.
What did you have to overcome to start composting, what kept you from starting sooner?: Finding a location for an outdoor compost bin.
What problems have you had to overcome to maintain your compost?: Keeping the fruit flies to a minimum. We do this by layering dry materials on top of wet (fresh) materials.
What unexpected things or events occurred because of your compost?: We occasionally find spotted salamanders in or near our compost so I tend to avoid turning it too often to avoid disturbing them.
What do you like best about composting?: We only fill half of a small city garbage container a week. And the compost shrinks dramatically – we keep adding to it but it takes a long time to get full.
What words of advice do you have for new composters?: Have some dry materials (grass or leaves) to sprinkle over your fresh compost (for an outdoor bin).
Would you recommend composting to your friends and family? Why or why not?: Yes, but to use an outdoor bin you need some space where a dog won’t get into it and anyone who sees it won’t mind it (we keep it behind some shrubs).
For how long have you been composting?: Off and on for over 10 years.
Do you have a compost bin or a worm bin or both?: We have two black plastic outdoor compost bins (but they mostly are cold and the compost appears to be eaten by worms).
Please describe your compost and your experience composting.: I mostly add things to the covered compost bin and spray a little water on each time. I really only mix it a little with a compost mixer a few times a year.
How does composting feel, sound, smell, look to you, your friends, your family?: It’s mostly hidden by a black plastic bin, and we tuck it partly out of sight from the street.
How often to do you add kitchen scraps and other material to your compost bin/pile?: We add material pretty much after every time we prepare fruit or vegetables, so 1 or 2 times a day.
What do you put in your compost?: Fruit and vegetable scraps. Coffee grounds. Leaves that are not too tough (avoiding magnolia leaves). Grass – sometimes fresh, sometimes after we let the clippings dry.
What do you not put in your compost and why not?: Meat, fat, oil, sauces, bread, paper, peach pits.
What do you do with the product of your compost?: I screen it to get out any uncomposted material and mix the compost into soil before planting a garden.
How much time per week to you spend maintaining your compost?: 5 minutes. Maybe 15 if you including adding scraps and dry material to it.
Do you have compost questions with which you would like help?: Have people found a good screening device (to get out the pits or wood chips).

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