Compost – Black Gold

Part 1

A year ago for Mother’s Day, my thoughtful husband bought me a beautiful white ceramic canister for the countertop. This was the beginning of us composting. All vegetable and fruit scraps go into that container as well as coffee grounds, tea bags and egg shells. We do not add any cooked left overs, meat nor bread items.


Countertop Ceramic Composter

Countertop Ceramic Composter

The best part about this gift is that he bought it at a resale store! I think it goes great with our arts & crafts home. It is amazing what you can find when you look beyond the first layer at a resale or antique store. (Can’t find one locally? Check out all the options of Amazon!)

There is some wonderful information on line on how to compost. It’s really not that difficult and if you have patience, you don’t have to put too much work into it. If you want finished compost faster, than I suggest getting an enclosed type of composter that is on a stand you can rotate.

We built our own compost container with leftover wood and pallets I got from the grocery store. When I asked at the customer service counter if they had any pallets to give away, they told me they’d never had a request for pallets. I thought, well, I bet people just take them from the back of the store, but I never feel comfortable doing that. Pallets are used to hold a myriad of products including food items, chemicals and anything else you buy. Pallets are made in just as many different ways and in many countries.

If you like the idea of using pallets, there are a few things to take into consideration:

  • Use pallets made in the USA or Canada only (US or CA on the stamp)
  • Use pallets that are heat-treated only (HT on the stamp)
  • Don’t use pallets that are painted or clearly have something spilled on them
  • Consider what type of store you are getting them from (maybe not from an auto supply store for example)
  • All pallets will have a “stamp” burned onto them with the information you need to verify the pallet is safe to use.

Don’t ever use a pallet that has MB instead of HT on the stamp. MB stands for Methyl Bromide, a broad spectrum pesticide. Methyl bromide has the potential to ‘gas off’ as elemental bromine, after which it acts as a serious ozone depleter. Plus, you wouldn’t want such a chemical anywhere near a product you are creating to put on all your wonderful edible plants!

Building our compost container took no time at all and filling it was just as fast.

pallet compost bin

pallet compost bin

In addition to kitchen scraps (green material) you also need to add brown material. This is where your leaves and twigs come in handy, as well as cardboard, paper bags, even straw.

After almost a year, we are close to getting actual compost. What does compost look like? It looks like the richest, deepest most earthy smelling dirt you’ve ever seen. This year we are going to add a divider in the middle of our bin to create two sections. The left side will be fresh material, the right side will be broken down compost that is almost ready for the garden, plants and even houseplants.

My next post I will go into more detail about actual composting, do’s and don’t’s, helpful tips and how to use your newly created black gold soil.

In the meantime, go visit your local grocery store and ask if they have any pallets available. If they do, grab some; but be sure to check out the stamp first!