18 January 2010

Raychelle Prepares Her Garden

Raychelle shows her very first compost from her fruit, veggie, eggshell, coffee grinds, tea bags leftover through the year, mixed in with leaves and hay. Considering this is her first batch, any tips from composters and gardeners out there will be very much appreciated!


  1. You should refrain putting citrus rinds in the compost because of the oils in them being harmful to worms (I learned this while working at the TOL).

    If you do compost the avocado skins, you should shred them because it takes a long time for them to compost. At TOL, we had to keep the avocado skins separated from the compost as well.

  2. wow....thanks alynn for ur tips!! citrus as in oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, etc? what do u do with these? i would feel funny having to throw them away in the trash....

    shredding avocado skins make sense... they're the toughest of em all. cut up with knife? or try to put them down a paper shredder...nah ha

  3. I agree with Alynn about the oil whatever you used for cooking, it will hurt worm and the soil. We had a big (I mean cha) garden last summer, this summer we will make it a bigger. Raychelle, did you just plant today? or was it recording in past? I wonder.

  4. dolph... i don't compost cooked food - i only compost raw fruits and veggies, egg shells, tea bags, coffee grinds... alynn was specifically talking about the oil inside citrus rinds being harmful to worms which is new to me (composting tips online and workshop presenters i've gone to never mentioned this hmm..)

    the video showed the compost i already spread on top of my garden, and yes the video was from yesterday. frost date for this area is mid-april, so can't plant outside until then :)

  5. Raychelle, I remember you talked about getting a compost tumbler last year. After I saw it in your v-log, I wonder how is that working for you? How long does it takes to fill the tumbler with food scraps? What are the pros and cons? What is your rating from 1 to 10? I'm considering in getting a compost tumbler since I live in the city.

  6. sure, i'm glad you asked. the tumbleweed compost tumbler is what i have now- i give it a 7 on a scale of 1-10, but remember i haven't been composting long enough with a variety of composters yet. the tumbleweed composter is very easy to assemble, set up, and use. it is relatively cheap (when compared with other composters). it takes forever to fill it up because the food/browns decompose pretty quickly. that's a good thing though. when it's very full, it's almost impossible to rotate, though. and the materials don't exactly break down well because when rotating, the material all go in the same direction.

    i've been told that simply buying a plastic trash can from home depot and adding holes in various places (for oxygen) will do just fine, the same goes for simply picking a corner in your backyard and dumping your food there and rotating it with "browns" will do just fine. no need to buy a "composter". if i knew this before i bought my composter, i'd do it, even though i live in the city. i haven't had any problems with critters when i emptied my compost out. i'm thinking about doing a vlog about this (easier to discuss/explain the process in ASL!).


    this looks cool for people who don't really have a backyard... would love to try this out...:


  7. Thank you for your review in depth on tumbleweed compost tumbler. It is a bit pricey but it is still good investment if it can be used for years. I looked for Do-It-Yourself (DYI) instruction to make your own Tumbleweed compost tumble on the internet but I could not find it yet. I will keep searching. If you or anyone knows a site containing that information, please pass it along.

    That Naturemill plus automatic indoor compost bin is very interesting! I did not know those things exist. I found it fascinating that it can operate on its own. One downside to have this bin is it requires electricity to operate (but if electricity is coming from renewable source, like solar panels, that would be no problem.) However I like this option for people who live in tall apartment buildings in the city. They could use the soil for their house plants or garden on the balcony/roof if they have it.

    I look forward to seeing more v-logs about your composting experience.

  8. here's some do-it-yourself compost bins:




    one composting professional/and university of maryland professor, who gave a workshop on composting in the city - he took us to his tiny backyard in DC, we were surprised to see his compost bin was simply five bales of hay. he set it up where it looks like the numerical symbol THREE.... he would just put all his food/browns in one part of the 3, and when it filled up, he would just move to the other part of 3, and let the other one compost (by turning it over and over with a fork once in a while). and if he runs out of "browns", he just grabs some hay to throw in the mix :) and yes he lives in the city, and says he has totally no problems with city critters-



  9. Sorry if you already mentioned this in your vlog but how long did you keep food in that composter until you started spreading it around? I started using mine maybe last Fall and was wondering when it'll be ready for the garden.

    BTW, for trashcan, try Freecycle first to see if theres anyone in your area that has one too many trashcans. Its always nice to reuse and reduce the amount of plastic on our Earth :)

  10. p....

    about a year i think. i kept on adding to it.... i should have stopped adding to it and set it aside and then start a new batch and so on. i think i'll do that in a few months with this new batch. see if it composts faster.

    i really couldn't tell if it was ready or not. it looked mostly black, with some visible pieces (avocado skin/seed), so i went ahead and spread it on my garden. i guess i'll know for sure in about june if i spread them out too early :)

    and thanks for the reminder about reusing old plastic! i'm pretty sure there's plentyyyy of "cracked" or old garbage cans that would serve a pretty good second life as a compost bin :)

  11. Hey! Did you ever check into worm composting? I asked for a worm composter for my birthday and have been composting coffee and tea bags since September in my basement. I tried doing fruit/veg scraps, but I couldn't deal with the fruit flies! In the spring I'll look into composting outside somewhere, but for now I"m happy to be re-using my coffee grinds and filters.

  12. amy jo, yea i've read about worm composting, it's supposedly good for people who live in apartments/condos. didn't try vermicomposting because i have a backyard, tiny one but it works....

    just found this tip list on how to get rid of fruit flies from worm bins.


    hope this helps?

    and another technique -

    let us know how it goes!

  13. Rach, very cool vlog! I did not realize that about orange rinds - I have plenty of worms in my compost bins (they can handle it as long as the bin is in partial shade). It takes forever to finally get the soil rich and ready. I am thinking of getting a tumbler to speed up the entire thing. Buying 1.5 cubic feet of local compost for 5 dollars each is okay too but, I would much rather constant composting in the yards. Dina

  14. i agree - and we control what goes in our compost - only healthy, organic stuff! we don't know what's in store compost we buy...

    but the down side to this - just now - my garden is full of tomato stalks, several cucumber plants and marigold flowers - because i composted my dead heirloom tomatoes and marigolds (and cucumbers as well as peppers). they're all bunched up in the wrong places - and a little too young for a good summer garden (i already grew quite a bit indoors since January) so will have to "weed" those out unless people want them- come over and get it! :) so that's something i learned about my compost - basically whatever goes in it, might surprise you next year! :)