One day I was walking in my neighborhood when–lo and behold I saw all these wood shavings around a tree stump. The tree had just been cut down and there were lots of wood shavings. I thought to myself, “Wow–What a find–wood shavings for the compost tumbler!” My compost tumbler was a little overwhelmed with kitchen scraps–wet and a little slimy. It needed some carbon or what composters call “browns” to balance it out. Composting is an art of balancing greens which are nitrogen and browns which are carbons to be successful. For a better understanding of this read my post on Greens and Browns in Composting. So I hurried home to get a few bags to collect the shavings in. The things we composters will do to get ingredients for our compost bins!!
Wood Shavings for the Compost Tumbler–Collecting in the Neighborhood!
I must have looked pretty strange collecting these wood scraps but I didn’t care. I used them in my compost tumbler and they helped a lot to dry out the kitchen scraps and to balance the nitrogen. I got very nice compost from that batch.
Then I started thinking that maybe I would use pet bedding which consists of wood shavings. It is not so expensive at Wal-Mart, though, ideally you want all your compost materials to be free. But sometimes that doesn’t work out when you run out of leaves! The real trick here is to make sure you collect a lot of leaves in the fall. I collect bags from other people and keep them on the side of my house. I usually collect enough to last the whole year. They are a great source of free carbon for composters.
In the springtime I am going to use wood shavings again! I will post on how it works out. There is a very good book on composting called The Complete Compost Gardening Guide. This book covers all different kinds of composting–something for everyone.
Leaves for compost provide a great carbon source. When I first started composting I thought I could put all my kitchen scraps in the bin and they would turn into compost. If composted alone they turn into a slimy, stinky mess.
Kitchen scraps are considered greens or the nitrogen source for the compost pile. They also have to be mixed with a carbon or “brown” source. Leaves for compost are a great carbon source. Add a carbon source to the slimy, stinky mess and watch (in amazement) how the carbon mixes with it and the mess loses some of its odor and wetness!
Rake Leaves for Compost in the Fall
You might still have a chance to collect or rake leaves for your compost pile. In the fall I see black plastic bags lined up in driveways to be picked up by the trash truck. It is so sad to think of all the lost opportunities for composting. Fortunately in some communities the cities are now composting leaves and creating products like Leafgro that are sold to gardeners.
If you still have leaves in your yard rake and save them for your compost pile. If they are left on the grass they will ruin it so you will kill two birds with one stone. The drawback is that leaves for composting work best when they are shredded. You can accomplish this with a landmower or a leaf vacuum/shredder. If you are starting composting in a time of year when there are no leaves, maybe you could use mulch fines or wood shavings. Read more here on Wood Shavings for the Compost Tumbler.
Leaves don’t “have” to be shredded. They just take longer to break down. Just look at the great soil under the leaves in our forests. Black, earthy smelling and very rich from the composted leaves!
Loom knitting instead of gardening is a great pastime in the winter! Well I do know that this is a gardening, composting blog but in the winter there is not so much to do with gardening. So I would call this, “What to do with yourself when you can’t garden because it is freezing outside?” One answer is loom knitting instead of gardening.
Loom Knitting Instead of Gardening Works Great on Airplanes
I have a long flight next week–10 hours. I won’t be able to knit on the plane because knitting needles are not allowed. I found these round Knitting Looms as an alternative to regular knitting. Though a small metal tool is needed I can accomplish the same thing with a plastic stitch holder. So I think I am good to go on my trip. I won’t have any problems with the knitting needles not being allowed on the plane because Yay!! I don’t need any!
I am experimenting ahead of time and have amazingly discovered that I love to make hats with these knitting looms. I thought I would miss regular knitting but this is really fun! I have completed 4 hats and am working on the fifth one. Each hat is so different depending on the yarn or yarn combination that I use. I made one kids size and my granddaughter fell in love with it and packed it in her suitcase to take it home. She looked great in that hat. My daughter and her friends love these hats and they have passed the test of time some being used for more than one winter!
There are so many opportunities to make beautiful hats with loom knitting! If you want an easy way to be creative with a small time investment try loom knitting and make winter hats! Use your imagination in the yarn store and go crazy with beautiful colors, textures and even a little bling. Of course, there are many other winter hobbies that can fill our gardening time–one of which is planning your next spring garden browsing through garden catalogs! Back to composting next blog post!