Home Composting – Art or Science?

Okay, so most of you that know me, know that I over-research things. I read every book, every blog post, talk to every expert and generally spend more time learning of a thing instead of actually DOING the thing.
The current thing I am spending WAY too much time researching instead of doing right now? Composting.
Sure, sure, sure, I have a bin that I use to store goat poop from my mini goats, and I use the poop to fertilize the garden soil I bought at a landscaping store to fill my raised garden beds. But when it comes to the art (or is a science?) of composting kitchen scraps, household waste and organic matter from the home? I have yet to start myself a household compost bin! *collective gasp*
I have drawn up blueprints for my compost bin. I own all the material to MAKE the bin. I know exactly where its going to go in my back yard. I even have the kitchen waste to outside bin route all picked out and sorted! But what worries me is.. will this even work? No, not the bin, I know I can build THAT.. but the actual composting process itself!
I have this vague notion that if I set my hand to something, the laws of nature will somehow stop operating as designed and will fail me. I keep fretting over proper bacterial ratios and proper formulas for maximum turn around time. So I did what I always do when doubt creeps in.. I started researching! I needed to know how composting was done in the old days, because if some cave dweller can compost, I sure as heck should be able to. So I researched the history of composting.. and realized, I am fussing over absolutely nothing. Really!


Composting in the Old Days

No one knows exactly when composting was first discovered – if it was even something to discover. Maybe some cavemen realized that things grew better near the place where they piled refuse in the cave. Then the word got out to all the other cave folks, and composting began. Who knows?
All we know is that the idea of putting human, animal, vegetable, and mineral wastes on or into the soil to make it better has been around as long as farming has, in every corner of the globe. Humanity has known for a long time that animal excrement – aka manure – is valuable stuff when it comes to growing things. But with or without farmers intervention in gathering organic matter to compost, we need to realize that composting happens – and has been happening – long before our ancestors discovered it. Decomposition is at least as old as the soil!
Long before people were around to observe it, composting was going on in every forest, every meadow, every swamp, and bog, and prairie, and steppe in the world. As Richard Langer says,
Composting is a natural process that began with the first plants on earth and has been going on ever since!
So compost is an ancient practice. Whether our ancient family approached it as an art, or a science, none can say. But through trial and error the earliest humans on planet earth were able to learn what worked when it came to compost. They didn’t have anyone to guide them or give them good advice. Things like psychrophilic bacteria and the relationship between carbon and nitrogen is the process of decomposition were the furthest things from their minds. All they saw, maybe, was the forest floor where leaves fell, turned dark, and gradually disappeared to be transformed into the dark, fertile soil gardeners were someday to call humus.
They must have realized that in time many things rot whether we try to do anything about it or not. Composting, by nature, is the easiest freaking thing on the planet because it WORKS, with or without you.
So with this in mind, I am FINALLY launching on my home composting journey! Hubby and I will be building our bin this coming weekend and my adventures in making household trash a gardening treasure will begin!
Because regardless of what you do or don’t do, when you leave everything to nature, eventually the conditions that encourage decay will establish themselves. This is something that has been going on since shortly after the beginning of time, and I doubt it will stop because of my brown thumb!
One aker well compast, is worth aker three… – Tusser (1557)
Now I am terrified at the Earth, it is that calm and patient,
It grows such sweet things out of such corruptions,
It turns harmless and stainless on its axis, with such endless succession of diseased corpses,
It distills exquisite winds out of such infused fetor,
It gives such divine materials to men, and accepts such leavings from them at last. – Walt Whitman, This Compost
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Gingi Freeman
Gingi Freeman
Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls.

Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at gingifreeman@gmail.com or via the contact form on her website at www.domesticgeekgirl.com

Gingi Freeman

Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls. Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at gingifreeman@gmail.com or via the contact form on her website at www.domesticgeekgirl.com

40 thoughts on “Home Composting – Art or Science?

  • 1 December, 2015 at 1:16 am

    Gingi, I think it’s great that you are going to compost for gardening. I compost because I have to but the city takes it away. If I decide to stay here another year I may put in a small garden if herbs and tomatoes ♡ xox

    • 1 December, 2015 at 4:16 pm

      Our city has a green waste bin that weve been using for lawn and garden waste, but Id like to start saving some of that for MYSELF! lol

  • 1 December, 2015 at 5:39 am

    My sister in law swears by composting and I have yet to try it! Good luck and I look forward to hearing the updates.

    • 1 December, 2015 at 4:16 pm

      Does she do anything special or just use the regular bin method…?

  • 1 December, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    I compost yard waste, but not kitchen waste. We have so much wildlife in our yard, it would be a messy disaster. In fact, I might as well construct feeding bins and put the food waste out there:) I do put out all stale bread and things for the squirrels. I think if you want to compost, bins are the way to go. You go, Gingi!

    • 1 December, 2015 at 4:25 pm

      I am a bit worried about neighborhood pests making my compost bin a feasting area… I was going to construct a mesh lid for the bin to keep critters out!

  • 1 December, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    I’m so excited for you Gingi as you build a compost bin!!!! You’ll love it I’m sure. Awesome post my friend. I’m a lazy composter myself, and that’s what is so fabulous about composting, just like you said, it works with or without you. Just send some goat poo my way…k? Ha.

    • 1 December, 2015 at 4:26 pm

      Haha.. so how long does it take, generally, for your compost bin to turn to usable hummus or soil for your garden??

  • 1 December, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    It’s both. Thanks for your honesty, it makes me feel better about my own procrastination. You’re not alone! 🙂

    • 1 December, 2015 at 4:32 pm

      LOL, I plan project this a bazillion years in advance.. then take forever to implement them, haha!

  • 1 December, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    So interesting. I always thought of it as way old-fashioned, and yet, around here people seem to think it’s the newest trend! It’s not!

    • 1 December, 2015 at 4:33 pm

      Right?? Its the new green culture that everyone thinks is groundbreaking.. haha..

  • 1 December, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    You have goats? How wonderful, I’d love a goat … or two and some chickens.

    Not something I’ve ever put a lot of thought into despite Mr T once hugely being into composting when he briefly took up growing show leeks. You however make it sound quite fascinating, the history of it being particularly interesting.

    • 1 December, 2015 at 10:07 pm

      My goats are kiiiind of a long story, lol. But yeah, I have a couple of Nigerian Dwarf goats! They make perfect city pets!

    • 1 December, 2015 at 10:08 pm

      You should!!

  • 1 December, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    Looking forward to seeing how your composting bin turns out! Maybe you’ll inspire me 🙂

    • 1 December, 2015 at 10:08 pm

      You and me both! hehe!

  • 2 December, 2015 at 1:19 am

    Oh man! This makes me think about the future. The future when I own a home… And have a yard… And go out there to garden, rake, etc! GAH! That will be the day I officially feel like an adult, LOL!

    • 2 December, 2015 at 3:13 pm

      Look at me adulting all over the place with my garbage stashing! Woot woot! 😉

    • 2 December, 2015 at 3:14 pm

      Will do!! Im anxious to see how this ends myself, haha! <3

  • 2 December, 2015 at 2:52 am

    So interesting! I’ve never tried composting, but it intrigues me 🙂

    • 2 December, 2015 at 3:17 pm

      Ill let you know how it goes! <3

  • 2 December, 2015 at 4:57 am

    I have never tried composting myself for probably the same reason you haven’t. Keep us posted on how it goes. You are starting to inspire me to build one as well. Thanks for sharing this with us. It was a fantastic post.


    • 2 December, 2015 at 3:16 pm

      Yeah, Ill be sharing my progress.. hopefully it doesnt take me super long to have a usable produce from the bin, haha..

  • 2 December, 2015 at 11:30 am

    Composting is a great and important thing to do!

    • 2 December, 2015 at 3:17 pm


  • 2 December, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    We compost, but not very well. I actually just throw our kitchen waste in some old cat litter bins in the yard. We don’t have a great use for it (no real garden) so mostly it just gets dumped out again, but at least that’s better than sending it to the landfill, right?

    • 2 December, 2015 at 10:05 pm

      Right! Does you city do any kind of community compost??

  • 2 December, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    Hi Gingi, we’ve been composting since we moved into our house and never really thought about how it happens as it just happens. My husband built two compost ‘boxes’ with a removable bit at the bottom so we can get to the juicy stuff easily. The compost really gives our oranges trees and plants a boost every spring.

    Hope you got round to building yours.


    • 2 December, 2015 at 10:06 pm

      Oooo, growing lemon trees is on my spring checklist! Excited to use my compost on things like that! <3

  • 2 December, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    “Composting is a natural process that began with the first plants on earth and has been going on ever since!”

    Always had our compost ‘heaps’ at the back of the garden, they are indeed an important part of the eco-cycle.

    All the best Jan

  • 3 December, 2015 at 3:41 am

    Good luck on your composting journey. I had a friend who composted and I pet sat for a family who composts, and I have no idea how it works. I just go with the flow lol

  • 10 December, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    Yay! That’s awesome! Someday when I finally have my own space, I’m hoping to do home composting as well! That’s awesome that you have goats!

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