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Jul 22, 2002 09:48 PM

a compost miracle

  • k

not a miracle, but this is cool...
for years my family has been simply throwing our food waste into a nice bucket and taking it out to our lovely plastic stacking container in the backyard. Last week we discovered a huge, mysterious vine growing out of it. it now has blossoms and is about 10 feet long. we think it's a pumpkin vine that has grown from the pumpkin seeds of last year's halloween pumpkins. we may have ourselves some free orange squashes this year all becuase we recycle our food waste back into our great earth.
so be inspired! start a compost pile! it may have paybacks you would never expect. turns ordinary garden dirt into CHOCOLATE CAKE, no kidding, it makes the dirt so dense and awesome.
just had to share.

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  1. Great story Katy! We have big garbage cans full of compost-we rent a condo and want to be able to take it with us if we roommate filled a big planter with soil, nourished with compost, aside from the lovely wildflowers we had for two years, yukon gold potatoes grew as well. Apparently there was a piec of potato in the compost and whatdaya' know? We had homegrown yukon golds for two years! They were like buttah!


    1. I don't compost but I have a semi-similar Halloween miracle: last October I bought a pumpkin. A friend told me that pumpkins propagate wildly and easily. So I threw that pumpkin (whole!) in my Queens, NY front yard. Completely forgot about it and a few months ago, noticed pumpkin vines spewing out of that spot.

      Could be I'll have the first pumpkin patch on my block!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Abbylovi

        My uncle turned most of his backyard into a pumpkin patch when he discovered they kill all the grass and weeds. He doesn't even plant them anymore, just lets them reproduce. He hates mowing and his girlfriend (a teacher) uses them in class around Halloween.

        I have raspberries growing 'wild' next to my house where the mower can't get them. Don't know how they got there, but they taste great.

      2. j
        Josh Mittleman

        One suggestion: If it ever says "Feed me", don't.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Josh Mittleman

          wise words. wise, wise words.

        2. Anyone know how to compost in the city without attracting rats and other vermin?

          We have two large flower beds outside our Brooklyn co-op, and would love to enrich the soil with composted table scraps, coffee grounds, etc. We also have an outdoor alleyway with ample room for a compost can. But the thought of laying a table for the local rats has stopped us from doing anything about it. Any solutions from you urban composters?

          5 Replies
          1. re: Don Pedro

            WORM BIN!!!!!!!

            you can put a lid on it to keep curious critters out!

            you can search google 'worm bin' and a few pages will come up with how to. a lot of pages will come up trying to get you to buy a premade worm bin, which is ok if you want to, but you can build one out of plywood and newspaper scraps and whatever else they tell you. just remmeber, 1 pound of worms will take care of 1/2 pound of food scraps in a day. so if your family creates 6 pounds of scraps (thats a whole big lot) you need 12 pounds of worms. or you need to only put part of your scraps in.

            best of luck,

            1. re: renee

              I have the easiest cheapest worm bin in the world... And it has worked great for me so far (have had it about 2 months). I used a big rubbermaid bucket (about 1' by 1.5' by 2') and drilled lots and lots and lots of holes in it... everywhere but the cover. I filled it with damp shredded newspaper, added the worms, and was ready to go. The only problem I've had with this is that my bin got infested with slugs (which are not bad for the bin, but are too gross for me). I fixed this by raising the bin up on two beams. If you'd like more info on this type of worm bin (like the exact size of my container), feel free to e-mail.

            2. re: Don Pedro

              I'm also in brooklyn. The Botanic garden has a bi-annual sale of compost bins. We got one a couple of years ago. It's tall, with a top. We have not had a vermin problem. The garden sells it at a considerable discount. If you go on their site -- -- they should have information.

              1. re: Don Pedro

                Great thread! I heartily recommend the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for info. They suggest using a closed container (such as a metal garbage can with some air holes drilled in). The compost needs plenty of oxygen and water(via air holes and being turned occasionally). And worms will definitely speed up the process! Just be sure to remove the compost once it's complete--worms are terrific at making compost, but it will become toxic to them if they eat it. The city used to sell compost, but I don't know if that's been discontinued.

                1. re: Don Pedro

                  If you do not have a bin make sure that when you take your kitchen scraps to the pile, rake back a good part of the top layer of grass or what not, dump your scraps and then recover.

                  I have found that once I eliminated even cleaned egg shells the raccoons and other critters usually ignore it. So no eggs, no meat smells on the veggies (so like if you make stock, do not dump the veggie refuse into the compost), no dairy.

                2. 7
                  7th generation

                  We use a round composter that you can turn on it's base so you don't have to mess around with a shovel. Also, the liquid drains off into a little drum on the bottom and you can dilute it and use it to water your plants. It takes up very little space. We got it out of a catalog a few years ago--I think it was the Harmony catalog--shouldn't run more than $60, and we've never had trouble with rats or anything (in the compost bin, that is. In the tomato plants it's another story).