Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Frugal Living Via a Compost Pile!

Compost -- most of us know that it is a wonderful way to turn kitchen scraps into a rich booster for soil.  And it provides a useful place for the leaves, cuttings, and other "plant" matter generated year round by a yard.  Composting is essential to the frugal heart - where you can turn cutting, scraps, and other odd things into a powerful fertilizer.  And save it from a trip to the curb.

And I was reminded this week that every now and then your compost may deliver another unexpected gift....a plant.  We found this gem in a patch of ground cover under the large tree that centers our backyard.  Most likely transplanted by a critter, we are not sure what it is.  Pumpkin?  That was my guess, and now the children's wish.  They want to carve pumpkins!  But after reading a recent post on The Other Side of the Ocean, I think it looks a bit like a cucumber.  The kids will be less thrilled with that if true.  Any guesses?

As for composting, don't over look items that can be diverted from your trash to new life via decomposition. Tubes from paper towel and toilet paper.  Newspaper.  Coffee grounds and tea bags.  Egg shells.  Brown paper bags that held your take-out.  Brown napkins that are not too soiled.  This time of year I have little to no yard waste (we use a push mower) so I need to be create on finding plant based items to off-set the food items.

Later this year, as we prepare the garden spots for winter, I hope to take some of the broken down compost out and spread for next years beds.  Tips on accomplishing that are welcome.  Our bin is mixed with materials that are well broken down, and yesterdays offering.  Some sort of strainer like device is needed....maybe what I'd use for pasta.  Suggestions?

Thanks for reading, and have a lovely frugal day!


  1. Funnily enough, I found a similar looking plant mixed in with my lettuces a few weeks ago. I thought it was an errant zucchini, and transplanted it. Now it's starting to look less like zucchini and more like your (and Nina's) plant... perhaps it too is a stowaway cucumber? At this point I think it's either that or an unusual weed.

    As for straining your compost, I've heard that shaking the compost through chicken wire works well. The holes are big enough to allow the soil to drop through and small enough to keep out the bits and bobs that haven't sufficiently degraded. I haven't actually tried it, though, so I can't share any first hand observations.

    Enjoy your day!

  2. They look very similar, so it might be hard to tell until you see an actual squash or whatever :) I've had volunteer tomatoes, winter squash (often not edible as a volunteer if it is a hybrid, and lemon balm over the years in my gardens and compost piles.