When organic material breaks down in an oxygen-poor environment (like a landfill where garbage piles have poor airflow), it goes through anaerobic decomposition. That creates methane, a greenhouse gas that's ~30 times stronger than the same amount of carbon dioxide.
Composting solves this, however, residents of rural and mountain communities have fewer options for composting their kitchen scraps than urban households. This is because compost pick-up services don't generally exist in these communities and outdoor compost bins attract animals and don’t work well in the winter.
The Worm Bin
The most basic at home composter is the worm bin. Lay down some moist material for bedding, add the worms and then start adding your kitchen scraps. In 3-4 months you'll have enough compost to harvest. Your worm bin should be kept in a garage or shed with a winter minimum temperate of 45 degrees F.
Pictures to the left are from Scott in Tabernash, who has the Worm Factory. Photo on the left is freshly added material vs. several weeks later.
Treehugger has a list of their favorite worm composting bins, which range from $60 - $200+.
Please share your mtn/rural community worm farm stories with us.
There are newer kitchen gadgets take claim to take the squirm out of worm composting. They can sit directly on your counter or under your sink if you have an extra outlet for the garbage disposal. These devices, like the Lomi, start at $350 and process your scraps in 3-8 hours.
Online reviews show the output material as being dried up, chopped food waste (see picture to the right). Unfortunately, you can't immediately use this nutrient rich material because the heat has killed the microbes. The best course of action would be to work the material into other compost or into the garden, where existing microbes can further break it down.
So I'm calling these com-posers, since they're not creating usable compost right away, but are still better than your food scraps generating methane in a land-fill.
Please let us know if you're using one of these in a mtn/rural community.
Mulching leaves is best done by running the lawn mower over piles of leaves or using a dedicated leaf mulcher to shred them into tiny pieces.
5 reasons to mulch your leaves during fall clean up
Breaks down in the yard or compost pile faster; both good for the soil and the environment.
Better for water retention.
Mulched leaves are easier for small wildlife to eat.
Takes up ~10% of the space of full sized leaves, so if disposing, it's fewer bags/loads.
Less time and effort to bag, haul and/or dispose of.