I never liked the idea of having a compost bin in my yard. I was always afraid it would attract unwanted pests. I knew the theory behind composting: throw your unwanted grass clippings, vegetation, and kitchen scraps in the pile and turn it over every so often. In time, the matter would decompose and would be an organic way to fertilize your garden. I thought there must be a better way.
My Better Way
I decided to save my kitchen scraps and keep them in a small plastic bag. Carrot and apple peelings, cucumber and broccoli ends, it all went into the plastic bag and then I would freeze it until I had more peelings. When the bag got too big to close, I would take it out to thaw a bit.
Blending the Peelings
After it thawed enough, I would put a handful in my blender. I’d add some warm water and blend the mixture to a creamy liquid. There is no hard and fast rule about how watery or thick this should be as long as it’s blended well. When I’ve added enough scraps and enough water so that my blender was full, I’d take it outside to the garden.
The Other Magic Ingredient
Once I’m in my garden, I take my hand spade and dig a small hole but deep enough to hold the blended mixture and then pour it in. I usually put half of the mixture in one hole and half in another nearby. I also pour in some liquid plant nitrogen. I use a fish emulsion. If you have another type of nitrogen, you can use that instead but the point is that you need to add nitrogen to this mix.
Why Do You Need Nitrogen?
You need nitrogen in this mixture in order for the mixture to decompose. It will be taking nitrogen from the soil if you don’t add it and you don’t want the decomposing process to deprive any of the plants and vegetables that you already have in the ground since they need nitrogen to grow. I didn’t know this when I first started doing it; it didn’t hurt my vegetables as far as I could tell, but it works better when you add nitrogen.
A CATaclysmic Problem
If you have stray cats in your neighborhood or if your neighbors let their cats out, be warned: the cats will gravitate to your garden because they are attracted to the smell of the fish emulsion. They think it’s a fish meal for them and will start digging in your garden looking for a fish! There are many ways to deter cats from tearing up your vegetable garden. It was trial and error, but I finally found a way that works great without harming any animals.
I first used this method of composting when I lived in Lexington, Kentucky where the soil is hard clay. In a few years, after adding my blender composting, some sand, and peat moss, I had good enough soil to grow midget cantaloupe, and sugar snap peas. I didn’t wait until the soil was perfect though, I still grew vegetables in the clay, but the more vigorous and abundant plants were the cantaloupe and sugar snaps when the soil had improved.
These days, I not only add blender composting when I dig holes in my vegetable garden but I dig separate, bigger holes to toss in all my leaves that have stuck in between fencing and in corners outside my garage. This also improves your soil, but more importantly, it also aerates it. Worms who enjoy these leaf and compost feasts do the rest.
After you’ve topped off the holes you dug with a layer of soil, you can still add fertilizer to your growing vegetables if you want. I give them a side dressing of composted manure or chicken manure which I buy at the store. Follow the directions on the package to know how often you should add it.
There is one especially important tip you should know if you use this method of composting. When you make your blender mixture, you have to pour it into the soil that day. You can’t keep it in the blender or pour it into a jar with a lid thinking that you’ll pour it in the garden tomorrow. If you do, you will have the smelliest mess all over your kitchen walls because the jar will explode from the gases that have built up with no means to escape. I learned that the hard way.
Make sure to thoroughly wash your blender. I use this blender for my compost blending only. It probably isn’t necessary to segregate it, but my blender is old so if tough or stringy peelings put a strain on the motor or bend the blades, I won’t be too disappointed. I use my immersion blender for my regular home cooking. Happy blender composting!
More From Marcella:
How to Grow a Vegetable Garden with No Effort
Tips for Mowing After a Drought