Question about 'blender' composting

wendy2shoesJanuary 24, 2008

My first visit here as well. I'd like to ask about a method I read in a "green tips" booklet about kitchen waste. Basically, you just stuff a blender with your kitchen scraps, (eggshells, coffee grounds, teabags, vegetable waste), add a cup of water when full, blend it up, then take it outside and dump on your beds.

I'm constantly battling with fruit flies hovering over my kitchen compost bucket, whereas the rubber top of the blender seals the container until you have enough to whip up.

It's fun to do, but I wonder if adding this raw "soup" to my beds would be beneficial.

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jbann23(6 RI)

Hi, by "beds" I'm assuming you mean your garden beds. Personally, I'd rather put that "soup" into a compost bin where it would break down to a more easily handled material. That soup is considered a 'green' and should be mixed with a brown or carbon material like dry leaves, shredded paper, etc. Read up on composting and maybe you'll start an outside bin to handle that mix. Best of luck.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 10:16AM
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I kinda trashed my blender doing that, I put a whole banana peel in (shoulda coulda woulda cut it up first) and it wrapped around the blades. Now it smells burny every time I use it, which isnt too often anymore.


    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 10:28AM
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Yup..they're flower beds, though sometimes I think I could have a "snooze" out there.

I do have a compost bin, and also starting a pile in the corner of my yard to handle grass clippings, leaves etc. I guess I was just trying to skip a step in the process to avoid the long hike to the back forty to dispose of kitchen waste. I have flower beds on both sides of my back yard, which I recondition every spring with municipally supplied compost. (The town removes our yard grass clippings..then gives it back after shredding and decomposing).
Wouldn't the coffee filters and tea bags included in this blender mix count as brown? Wouldn't the earthworms and soil bacteria quickly break down any residual "sludge" that remained on the surface of the soil?
Oh well..guess I'll do some more research.

Wendy..(scooting back to wintersowing forum)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 10:45AM
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shellva(Camden 7b/8a)

Good gosh Wendy, whatever you are doing it works! Beautiful!

The tea would be a green, the paper of the tea bag a brown, I would think. I don't see what you are wanting to do as a bad thing. No matter how you look at it, you are adding organic material to your beds, period.

I have a compost pile cooking and it is doing fine (mine is right off the deck at the backdoor, only a few steps of walking required). So now instead of always dumping my kitchen pail into the pile, I am walking out to the garden (my version of walking to the back40, aaahhh the irony of it all!), digging a hole where I know I am planting each tomato in the spring and burying the mainly nitrogen type kichen waste. I say mostly nitrogen because there are some coffee filters and tea bags in each dump. I'm looking at what I am doing as an experiment. And it's an excuse to play in the dirt in January;)

Could your kitchen waste be put to a better use, maybe, but in the end it's not going to the landfill and your soil is still going to get use of it. You just don't have to walk to the back 40.

I'll see you in the wintersowing forum.


    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 12:09PM
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The biggest problem I see is the potential smell and pests. Blending will help speed up the decomposing but its still composed of everything you put in the blender. If you were to put those items (without blending) in a trashcan for a couple days I don't think you'd want to smell it.

I would personally forego the blender and just compost it, or as shellva mentioned just bury the food in different places. My grandfather used to do that all year long with table scraps and I never saw him fertilize. Not once!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 12:31PM
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Marisha(z6 sw OH.)

The way I handle scraps in the winter is by keeping a plastic bag in the freezer to put eggshells, coffee grounds, vegetable scraps into. I do that daily until it gets filled up then take it to the compost pile (about once a week). That eliminates the smells, gnats, a ruined blender and daily trips to the back 40. A plastic tub would probably work just as well but it's easier to get the frozen scraps out of a plastic bag when I empty it.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 4:56PM
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The only reason you would have fruit flies hovering around the compost material collection bucket is because it is not being emptied often enough. It takes some time for the eggs that will become these fruit flies to hatch, some more time for the larva to develop and change into the adults we see flying around. Empty the bucket every couple of days and save the electricity needed to operate the blender.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2008 at 6:41AM
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ceresone(missouri ozarks)

Plus, I guess with the plastic bag idea, you could crush the eggshells inside the bag--that was the reason I was thinking of using my vita-mix first. still seems it would help garden scraps and shells break down faster--oh well...

    Bookmark   January 25, 2008 at 8:39AM
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I batch grind dried egg shells into tiny chips in my food processor about once a month, then scatter them out for the birds.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2008 at 11:13AM
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Lovely garden, Wendy.

I was surprised to see that a booklet called "Green Tips" would recommend using electricity to make compost.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 8:35AM
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Let's be realistic here. Wendy is not going to use her blender 24 hours a day. From her post, she will be waiting for it to fill, and then blend the contents. I've seen several posts in the past on this and other forum where folks use electricity to keep aeration devices going 24/7 in their compost teas and big machinery to turn their composts. Let's not hand slap someone for using a small blender for such a small amount of time, please. Wendy is trying to amend her gardens - which are most beautiful - without the help of steroid fertilizers and she is keeping waste from the landfill. Consider that aspect of her efforts.

Having said that, we had a problem with fruit flies and our kitchen bin. The way it was solved was by using airtight containers to keep the goodies in. The ones we chose were ice cream tubs. They work very well.

Before I established a compost area on our property, we did as you propose Wendy. Blending the organics prevented the rodents and such from thinking we were feeding them. If you add water, or even the coffee leftover from your morning pot, it's even better, but when you place it in the gardens, bury it just a bit. Doesn't have to be deep, just cover with soil.

Adding coffee grounds is great. The smell deters moles and racoons should you have them in the area. Also, our dogs don'tlike the smell of UCGs and it keeps them out of the gardens to a certain extent. They certainly don't dig in them like they did before I started using UCGs.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 3:58PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

I have to agree with annpat and kimmsr. This doesn't seem remotely 'green' and appears like making huge amount of work. As for waiting for the blender to fill - well an egg shell, a couple of apple cores, a dried up crust off the loaf and a few potato peelings and it would already be full by lunch time. With the amount of stuff I put on the compost heap each I WOULD be blending 24 hours a day! Unless you have giant blenders in the States which can take a bucket of stuff at one go I don't understand how you keep up with the flow of organic leftovers. Why not just stick it straight onto a compost heap and cut out all the effort and the smells. As for electric aerators - I would also consider them a complete waste of money and electricity. Big machinery is only necessary if you're making massive heaps. I'm constantly amased at how difficult some people can make a simple activity. Just chuck it on the pile. IALBTC.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 4:55PM
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buffburd(z5 NY)

I also agree with annpat, kimmsr, and flora_uk. I empty my bin outside into the compost pile once it gets relatively full, or sooner if it has stuff that gets stinky. No blending is required for good compost. Once the compost is mostly finished I use some hardware cloth in a frame to sift out fine compost.

It is definately not "green" to use a blender to process your compost ingredients. You don't really even want your compost to break down quickly, slow release is what you are going for in compost.

When you say, oh its only a little bit of electricity to use the blender, that is the reason why we are in such a bad position. Everything any one of us does is only a "little bit", but when a million people do just a little bit, you end up wasting a lot of energy and resources.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 9:54PM
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Well, I guess I've started a 'tempest' in a blender here. Thanks to everyone for your responses, succint, edifying, and educational. The "green tip" booklet that I found this suggestion in was written in 1992, when oil was what, $10.00 a barrel? So, I will continue my practise of dumping my kitchen waste into a drilled garbage can just off my deck, then add it to my composter in the spring. It's frozen solid now in minus 15c temps, but should break down quickly in the spring. (Arthritis prevents me from walking 150 feet to the actual bin in this weather).

My main plan is to start an open, "U" shaped heap, possibly by using dry-stacked cinder block to contain it, so that I can really get in there and mix it with a fork. Our community provided compost bins are just too tall and awkward to mix easily.

Thanks again for your input.

p.s. Is it O.K. to make the occasional smoothie?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 10:23PM
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"Is it O.K. to make the occasional smoothie?"
And/or Margarita.

No, I wasn't picking on you, and had I known the date of the pamphlet, I wouldn't have mentioned it.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 8:45AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Corrections and clarifications. Slightly embarrassed by the omission of the word 'day' after 'each' in my post and inability to spell 'amazed.' Sorry. Occasional smoothies only allowed, you realise, providing all rinds and peels go on the heap - UNblended ;) I have two U shaped heaps. You don't even need to turn them if you can't be bothered. You'll get compost in the end.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 8:45AM
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A great way to get rid of the fruit flies is to freeze your scraps until they need to be blended or to put them in the microwave for about a minute until they bubble. The problem is that the fruit flies are already on your food when you purchase it they just haven't hatched yet.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 3:15PM
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paulns(NS zone 6a)

Running a blender and adding water does seem excessive, but where are you guys when there's talk of bringing out the really big power equipment to make compost at home? Why am I always the one who speaks up and sounds like a curmudgeon?

Packing the scraps in the freezer, if there's room, is a great alternative - it's running anyway, the fuller the better, and since scraps are mostly water they should break down faster once they're thawed.

I've seen one of those cinderblock composters you describe Wendy and think they look quite nice; one with two compartments, so you can shift stuff from one to the other, would be even better. Yes I think that will be the next bin I build.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 4:06PM
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hamiltongardener(CAN 6a)

but where are you guys when there's talk of bringing out the really big power equipment to make compost at home?

Good point. I've sometimes wondered that myself.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 5:26PM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

Even the fridge works fine to hold compostables for up to a few weeks.

I follow sort of a middle ground. When I take my scraps out to the compost heap, I hack them up with a corn knife. (It's like a machete, but with a straight, more rigid, easily sharpened blade, and available at any garden center.) Toss it with shredded leaves or straw for browns and let the worms have a feast.

So, let's see, blender at 300 watts for 3 minutes per week ... that's about 10 cents' worth of electricity per year ... that seems pretty eco-friendly to me.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 6:00PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Where does the 3 minutes a week come from? My kitchen generates about 4 buckets of compostable waste per week. My blender takes about 1 1/2 pints. It's impractical and pointless.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 6:19PM
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tibs(5/6 OH)

I want to move to Wendy's town. The city takes her garden stuff away and brings back finished mulch? Wow.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 6:25PM
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I can't believe that there is a serious discusion about electricity usage for a blender! It makes me laugh.

Wendy, do what you like to do, don't worry about it. Your garden is gorgeous!


    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 6:30PM
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hamiltongardener(CAN 6a)

I want to move to Wendy's town. The city takes her garden stuff away and brings back finished mulch? Wow.

Mine does too, but it's possible Wendy and I live in the same city. Our garden and kitchen wastes are picked up every week, and we can get the compost free from the city, usually available in the spring.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 7:47PM
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So where do you make your concessions?

I wasn't criticizing Wendy, but rather the "Green Tips" pamphlet, which it turns out was written a decade ago.

I don't really care how anyone makes compost as long as they do. I have a chipper, which I use about five days a year on the leaves I use for mulch or in my compost. (The rest of my leaves get bagged and dragged into the woods where I harvest the leaf mold about three years later.) I wouldn't have bought my chipper nowadays. I've had it for 15 years. I don't use a lawnmower ever and I don't use a blender for food scraps. I try to sacrifice the things that aren't so inconvenient, to compensate for my other guilty pleasures.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 11:08AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Lloyd - of course Wendy can do what she likes. However, I am just trying to point out that this blending business would be very time consuming and is not worth the effort. It's about as efficient a use of Wendy's time as cleaning her kitchen floor with cotton buds rather than a mop. As for the electricity consumption, I'm afraid that the attitude that one's own little bit of usage will make no difference is part of the problem. Disappearing energy reserves and global pollution are everyone's responsibility. I'm sorry that makes you laugh, Lloyd.
I am sometimes saddened by those posters on Gardenweb who consider their use of energy largely in terms of monetary cost to themselves and don't see the wider picture. Doing 'what you like' is not going to be an option in the long run.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 1:09PM
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My kitchen waste doesn't get picked up...yet. Green bins coming this April, though I doubt I'll be using it for much more than meat scraps, used tissue and the like, because I fully intend to keep composting.
Yard waste (weeds, twigs, leaves) are picked up by the town, and I can go shovel up as much compost as my little honda can carry in the spring and fall. I have three large garbage cans lined up like passengers in the back seat, and four blue bins in the trunk.
Really, really, praying that I don't get rear-ended one day on my way home.
I take my bits of paint, motor oil from oil changes, and any other toxic materials (old propane camping canisters etc.,) on the way up for safe disposal or re-use. You can get some interesting paint colours there for free..they combine like with like..great for outdoor projects.
Our municipal recycling station is doing a great job. (quite close to Hamilton, btw)

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 1:36PM
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No need to apologize Flora, a good chuckle is a good thing.

Now you have me curious...

What problem might you be thinking of that our attitude is contributing to?


    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 3:10PM
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paphiocon(z6 NJ)

"My main plan is to start an open, "U" shaped heap, possibly by using dry-stacked cinder block to contain it, so that I can really get in there and mix it with a fork."

Wendy, I've had a cinder block bin for 11 years now -- I love it! The first run of blocks are laid with the solid side facing, then the other rows are laid so that the holes face. It allows air into the bin and also permits some of the finished compost to drop out, so I can just come along and scoop it up.

Some years I get ambitious and tip the top row over and put potting mix and finished compost into the holes, and then I plant flowers in the "containers". I've been too lazy to take photos, but I will try to get around to it this year.

BTW, I've been drooling over the photo of your garden(s) here and on the Winter Sowing forum.

Constance in NJ

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 5:47PM
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I've followed this post with interest. I've got very limited yard space and mostly do container gardening. I really have no space for compost piles. I thought creating a food waste slurry maight be a way to fertilize potted plants. Anyone have experience with this?

By the way I have a bit of a rant...
I'm a bit disappointed that wendy2shoes is criticized and shamed for using a blender to assist composting. Yes, it was a good point to remember that electricity was involved in that process and this could be brought up as food for thought rather than criticsm.

I'd suggest considering the following before making somone feel bad for their efforts:
1. Not all people's situations are the same and so not all people will be able to be "green" in the same way. People have different physical and contextual limitations.

2. Every little step counts. Shouldn't we encourage people who are composting (even if it is with electricity) rather than throwing the food scraps away? It seems it would be far more effective to congratulate their current efforts and then gently guide them to greener ways of composting that could work for their situations.

I've had a number of people who have travelled farther along the green road look at me with criticism and disdain for not doing enough. This makes me angry and discourages me from further effort because my current steps forward are not even acknowledged and encouraged.

For those of you farther along the green path, please be patient with and supportive of those of us who are just starting the journey. It takes a long time to learn and to adapt one's lifestyle...there are so many changes to make and it is unrealistic to expect most of us to make great leaps overnight.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 9:00AM
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Blending kitchen scraps sounds like an interesting idea. I think it would especially work with a heavy feeder like a melon. My melon bed is mostly a pile of compost anyway and the addition of the blender compost will just hasten the further decomposition of that compost.

I know I have used coffee grounds straight into the soil of a plant to very good effect, so this blender idea ought to work the same way. Great tip.

And I get my electricity from renewable resources, so that's not much of an issue.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 9:16AM
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Using a blender to add to the compost is bringing as much discussion about using urine on the perennials. The electricity to use the blender is a weak excuse. I have tons of red wigglers in my compost bin because I aid in the breaking down of pizza crusts, pineapple rinds, and etc. because there was nothing more frustrating then seeing egg shells in my garden beds years after they were deposited or raccoons raiding my compost. If people are so concerned about the environment it certainly isn't showing on the Interstates when cars drive an average of 10 miles over the speed limit. Heck if airlines are slowing down their flight speed to save on fuel, what electricity does a blender use for a 5 minute spurt? I even started saving my urine for the beds and have seen a big change in my water bill, they just raised our bills by 15% because the county lost money last year when they asked us to conserve. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. I am just wondering about all the soap box preachers who condemn anything different, how they save our natural resourses.

Here is a link that might be useful: Propagating Perennials

1 Like    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 9:31AM
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I think I'm going to start a new thread because I always wonder why people are so stressed by seeing an eggshell in their garden soil. I hear over and over again how long eggshells take to break down in the garden. Why is everyone so afraid of eggshells? What's your rush? You in a race with someone? Do the eggshells ruin your quest for powder fine soil?

And as far as Wendy being "criticized and shamed", it never happened. There's a difference between discussion and attack.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 12:32PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Ahhhh. There you are annpat. I'd stayed away for a while because the gas guzzlers just weren't getting it. Moral support at last. Thanks.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 3:55PM
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david52 Zone 6

The wave of the future, for the small-scale apartment compostier, are pigmy Nigerian goats. Take up, I dunno, maybe 1 cupboard, or a big drawer. In the suburban environment, a couple-three out on the back patio, and all your veggie waste needs are met.

Here is a link that might be useful: The ultimate in kitchen appliances

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 8:35PM
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Geez, if you're going to rag at somebody for using the blender, I hope you're not using hot water to take a shower, you better be in the backyard dumping the rain barrel on your head and using leaves for toilet paper and washing your clothes on a rock in the mississippiii river.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 10:33PM
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Doris please name the person who "ragged at someone for using a blender?" I didn't see that post.

As far as comparing shower taking with blenderizing a banana peel to prepare it for rotting---well, I just can't see the comparison.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 10:56PM
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gumby_ct(CT it says Z5)

I like to put crushed eggshells around my new seeds & seedlings to deter slugs. So for me, I prefer to see the egg shells so I know where I have planted things. I keep a bucket with just eggshells so I am sure to have them when I want them.

But see Gumby has always been a bit different. Well balanced you might say, ha.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 10:58PM
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LOL...I'm still trying to discover what exactly "the problem" referred to earlier is?


    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 11:31PM
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gumby_ct(CT it says Z5)

ha, good luck wid dat...I thought it was eggshells in garden, but what do I know.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 11:45PM
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Lloyd, new friend, you need to read a bit more carefully, too. I know that you're baiting flora, but it was very clear from her post what she considers the problem to be. She said so in the sentence following the one you'd like to debate:

"I'm afraid that the attitude that one's own little bit of usage will make no difference is part of the problem. Disappearing energy reserves and global pollution are everyone's responsibility."

So, go ahead. There it is. Tell us what you'd like to say.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 7:32AM
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I do believe I already said what I think of the blendering/electricity subject. Makes me laugh.


    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 11:22AM
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david52 Zone 6

I have a neighbor who owns one of the blenders in link. This thing will take a whole tomato and chop it up to the point that the seeds and skin are completely disintegrated. He uses it to 'juice' carrots, ie turn a bunch of carrots into juice.

Anywho, if one were serious about blender composting, or blender gardening, or really into Daiquiris, this is where to look.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bad boy blenders

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 11:41AM
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paulns(NS zone 6a)

Giving eggshells a quick crush in the hand before throwing them in the compost bucket makes them break down much quicker in the pile.

David, if you could talk to my wife about us getting a couple of these...She is being awfully recalcitrant. 'African pygmy goats', I wonder are they the same? They're supposed to be smarter and nicer than dogs.

Here is a link that might be useful: pygmy goats

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 4:54PM
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david52 Zone 6

Thems the same ones, paulns. African pigmy and Nigerian pigmy are different names for the same breed. We used to have a few around the farm when we lived along the West African coast. They're cute, for sure. They're still goats, though. Which means they climb on everything, I'd routinely find them on top of my truck cab, dozing away. And to be honest, a billy goat in rut is just as whiffy as a full sized goat in rut. But shampooed, brushed, and with a ribbon around their neck, they're pretty cute.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 5:56PM
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"... I hope you're not using hot water to take a shower..."


Uses electricity.

Using a blender.


Uses electricity.

HRC (apparently, a baiting gas guzzler. BGG, a new acronym, I love it)

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 8:35PM
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I'm always baffled by people who blend up their food scraps before adding to their vermicomposting bins because they get frustrated by how slowly the worms seem to be eating. like you said annepat, what's the rush? it's like some people are so addicted to instant gratification it drives them crazy.

personally I couldnt stand having to wash the blender out every time I had enough scraps. I'd be using it every day. It just sounds like extra work for no real gain and I'm all about keeping things simple.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 9:51PM
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paulns(NS zone 6a)

"What a goat really likes to do is climb a mountain, browsing on flowers and shrubs along the way." Car = mountain, sounds like. David you must have many stories to tell about your African experiences, I hope you put them on paper. If you include some perspective on organic waste disposal you could post them here.

It took nine years to convince my wife to get chickens; I've been working on the goat file for four...It's a little disappointing they're still goats, she won't want to hear that.

What was the point again? Right: feed your scraps through a goat, not a blender.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 8:52AM
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I just wanted to point something out that hasnt been yet. As a gas guzzling person myself. I drive 160 miles a day round trip for work.

But some of you are so "green" but yet your sitting here typing on a computer???? Does that not use unnecessary electricity???

If using a blender to process her kitchen waste works for her then good for her. At least she is using it.

To the ones that think she is wasting electricity for doing so and damaging the earth because if it then maybe you should turn off you TV and your computer your wasting valuable resources.

Man some extremists amaze me!!!

It really neededs to be said that some people in this thread are major hypocrits.

I do agree withsome of you that said its not worth it. Freezing may be a better option until you have enough to make the trip to the heap.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 3:13PM
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david52 Zone 6

Goats will also pull goat carts. Actually, paulns, African composting, per se, exists in towns and cities, with individuals any organic scraps are used to feed chickens, and anything that can possibly be recycled / reused as something else is - any container is reused, tin cans are flattened and used as roofing shingles, paper feeds the termites, and everything just sort of disappears. In 25 years, we never had any trash collection, just a compost pile out back, and somebody would always take the jars cans, or anything that wasn't organic. The last place we stayed, on the shores of Lake Victoria, we had a group of 5 foot long monitor lizards who would check out the compost pile and eat anything they thought they could.

With larger towns, compost happens and goats are an integral part of the operation. Everybody piles their garbage in an empty lot, mountains of the stuff, usually with a herd of goats hanging around. It turns to compost, obviously. One place I stayed, the compostibles would add up, and stack up, all dry season long, a pile maybe 10 feet high over a square block. And then when the rains came, this provided sufficient moisture to get the mountain going. It radiated an amazing amount of heat.

This all worked well until the advent of the cheap plastic bag, which the goats would eat and couldn't digest.

In some cities, folks give directions by the garbage mounds. "Take the North road, and go by 4 garbage heaps. My place is 3rd on the left"

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 3:38PM
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Whoa....Hold on thar sense in getting all logical when there are conclusions to be jumped to. It is much more funner to obfuscate and assume things than ascertain some other possibilities....

(Picture Lloyd scratching his head in deep thought) Hmmmm...I wonder if Wendy has solar panels to generate her electricity, or maybe a wind turbine, that would be WAY cool (I'd love to have a wind turbine). That would be quite "green" I'm thinking. Pity I didn't ask her....

Wait a minute...did Wendy say a cup of water in her blender? For shame Wendy. You should be saving your urine for that. The nerve, using good clean water. But wait, I may have jumped to another conclusion, she just might be using the water from boiling the veggies or taters. Sorry bout that Wendy, I guess I shoulda asked first.

Lloyd HRC

P.S. Kinda sarcastic ain't I.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 6:52PM
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Just wondered if I could put a word in here. I didn't realize that I would cause such a kafuffle, or to translate for flora, an "argy bargy" over an innocent question. I do my best, I refuse (extra packaging) reduce, reuse, and recycle.

I do ask my husband to pee around the beds, (he has no problem with that) to keep the rabbits away. I would like to have three hens in the yard (wasn't that a song? sorry it was three cats..) but the town bylaws won't let me.

I live in Canada, which has inherent difficulties. My furnace was still running yesterday, as it only got to 7c, and we can't afford to install geo thermic.

I have a bucket in the kitchen, into which I pour off excess water being used for rinsing vegetables, getting cold to hot, etc, and pour it off onto the garden.

I would love to have a gray water cistern in my house, to take care of that wastage with just a flip of a lever, but, we can't afford the expense to install one.

Some people have very limited incomes. My dream is to get off the grid altogether, but if you live in a city, on a fixed income, that ideal may be difficult to acheive.

We all do our own, in our little ways to try to do better. I apologize to those who took offense to me using electricity unnecessarily.

I will not cast the first stone.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 7:36PM
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billinpa & pt03 - sure am glad to see some folks here who are like-minded w/me - I think everyone has different reasons, purposes &/or agendas w/compost, & each is entitled to his own. Heck, some of us might even compost, love replenishing the earth & conservationism & still not believe in "global warming" ;)

BTW, Wendy, if you like to blend, blend away. Keep the enjoyment in the process!

All the Best, Tree (who has a hard enough time getting the counter-top crock out out to the pile - down 1 flight & out back door - never mind adding another step - which is why the phrase "to each his own" was coined - and should really be applied here more frequently)

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 8:28PM
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Wendy, I don't think that you or I or flora see things very differently.

I repeat that a careful reader would have noticed that I was merely responding to the irony of a booklet called "Green Tips" recommending blenderizing a product in preparation for rotting. If the booklet had been named something different, say, "Not Green Tips" I might have let it go. But I'm a careful reader, and I don't like people getting horns waggled, so I pointed out the obvious.

But, I am sorry I responded. I'll try not to do that again. Because, yeah, I see the point---How could a person who takes showers comment on anything??? I mean, really!!!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 9:15PM
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madmagic(dtown Toronto)

"It really neededs to be said that some people in this thread are major hypocrits."

No. It does not need to be said. And statements of personal attack are not welcome, here. Please stop writing them.

No-one on this thread has personally attacked Wendy. (And if you think otherwise, please quote the words. I've followed this thread as it was posted, and I've re-read every word carefully just now.)

People have expressed their individual opinions about using a blender to process materials for compost. Those opinions were IMO generally expressed in friendly, positive, polite and considerate ways. And if you think otherwise, please quote the words.

As I understand it, the rules of GardenWeb -- and the general style of most posts in this forum, most of the time -- allow for free expression of personal opinions. Speak your mind, please.

But please -- speak your mind on the issues. Talking about personalities lowers the tone of the conversation here and can quickly turn decent online conversations into fights.

Everyone, please... stop the sniping. Let's get back to soil, compost and mulch, okay?

All the best,

p.s. Wendy, this kind of lowering of discussion doesn't take place here often and I'm sorry it happened on a thread where you made your first post. I'm familiar with most of the posters who disagreed with you, and IMO not one of them meant any of their comments to be understood in any way as a personal attack on you. They disagreed with you; they didn't mean to diss you.

1 Like    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 9:38PM
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david52 Zone 6

Last summer, I bought an big electric drill and a 3' long bulb auger, a 100 ft extension cord, and a 50 gallon plastic bucket to make a slurry out of newspaper so it would compost better. It worked pretty good until I was distracted and put the auger through the side of the bucket, and poured 50 gallons of stinking, rotting newspaper slurry on my shoes.

I wonder if they make a big enough blender.......I mean, I already have the cord..... :-)

    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 10:42AM
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paulns(NS zone 6a)

A cart-pulling goat is a very nice image to offer my wife, thanks.
You've reminded me of two things, a documentary on the garbage mountains of Lagos (I think it was) - veritable landscapes of inhabited islands of mostly plastic garbage; and of a trip to Cuba a few years ago, where the only garbage we saw in rural areas was a very small pile of pop bottles in any given yard. They have a lot of pigs there, another omnivorous animal.

The plastic bag is certainly a curse.

Monitor lizards on the shores of Lake Victoria.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 11:33AM
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Having lived in Berkeley, California, for 17 years (and now, blessedly, NOT in Berkeley), I was surrounded by "more ecologically correct than thou" sorts for years and years. But I also started composting while living in Berkeley, thanks to the very subsidized Biostack bin we purchased while living there.

I originally threw eggshells into the bin in two or maybe three parts (if I had messed up while cracking them). After "timing" one particular eggshell at 5 years+ to disintegrate, I decided to smash them in my hands. OK; they now took a mere 3 years.

So now I wait until I have a large yogurt container of eggshells which have dried up (the egg white inside), and then--GASP!--I put them into my old blender (capacity 2 quarts) and pulse/burst them until they're pulverized. Maybe a total of 1 minute every two weeks or so of electricity. And I walk them out to the compost bin, and they just disappear by the time I turn the pile next, whether that be two weeks or two months.

(Too bad this forum doesn't show when people joined, their general location, or how many posts they've made; it's easier to keep track of folks' names when this info is provided.)

    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 6:30PM
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Hi, I'm very interested in this issue of shredding or at least reducing in size the scraps we put into our worm bin or compost tumbler. I keep looking for something manual that would shred (a bit) things like watermelon rind, banana peel, coffee filters... you know the usual stuff. I want this for my home use BUT I also do worm composting at my elementary school with the food waste from lunch. We bought a big apple grinder but haven't tried it out yet. I wish someone would create something manual that would shred paper and food waste or tell me of a tool that would do it. Thanks in advance.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 7:39PM
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The "something manual" that I use for all melon rinds is a sharp knife. I find it kind of fun (I know, I need a life!) to slice the rinds into half inch strips about 4" long. If I'm lazy I just chuck 'em out in large pieces. They still decompose.

On the subject of other ways to compost, we've often just buried our daily supply of goodies between the plants. Cover it with the shovelful of dirt removed from the hole and the worms take care of it. I'm sure someone will say how "bad" in some way this is, but it's worked for us over many summers with absolutely no problems. No wild animals nor our dogs ever dug anything up. Perhaps because we always have one coffee filter with UCG's which covers up the scent.

We've never had a fruit fly in the kitchen compost bin but empty it every day in the evening. Even in our cold zone 3 we add to the compost bin all winter. Just trudge out through the snow and dump it on top of the snow. Melts and rots every spring/summer.

Composting is the easiest thing to do which is good for the earth. Why make it difficult?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 8:36PM
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Right on, tiffy_Z5_6_can (and paulns, pt03, fabric_addict, etc). I LOVE to use the food processor on my veggie and fruit scraps. I am also using a paper shreader! Many good points made here.

To keep out fruit flies, I use a coffee can with a lid. Never have a problem.


Here is a link that might be useful: my garden

    Bookmark   July 19, 2008 at 6:56PM
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I tried to post a link to another site that has a great group on papercrete but GW wouldn't allow it. Lots of ideas for bigger "blenders" for newspaper slurry, from using an old wringer type washing machine to one that uses a power washer with a certain type of nozzle to pulverize the paper.

Do YOU "Y...o?"check it out. Papercreters.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 10:33AM
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Demeter(z6 NJ)

Manual ways of reducing melon rinds and such involve a heavy knife, or, if you want to take out your aggression on the fruit, a machete. My mother had a manual meat grinder when I was a kid, and I've seen vegetable slicers of the same sort. If one of those can reduce carrots to slivers, it would do the same for melon rinds. Paper can be hand-shredded or you can use a paper cutter to cut it into strips and then cut the strips crosswise.

Either way, it's a lot of work, and I don't know if most people are willing to put that much effort into it. Generally, if something requires a little personal effort and a little electricity, it's more likely to get done than if it requires a lot of manual effort and time and no electricity. If that were not the case, "labor-saving" electrical devices would never have become popular.

To be completely honest, I do have a powerful blender with a container dedicated to compost. I tend to use it when I'm cleaning out the fridge and getting rid of all the leftovers that are growing green fuzzy things. I'll usually wind up with a bucket full of nasty slurry, which then gets dumped into the compost pile and covered with shredded leaves or wood chips. My blender can handle meat and bones as well as veggies, enabling me to compost things that are usually on the "do not compost" list by breaking them down into tiny particles which rot quickly before attracting flies.

Most of the time, however, I just dump things into the compost without shredding.

I think that the energy used in shredding is offset by the energy used in manufacturing a black plastic bag, using a big smoke-belching diesel truck to take the bag to the landfill (or the incinerator), and then using a big smoke-belching diesel bulldozer to bury the bag in the landfill (or using more fuel to burn it); either way the organic material will be lost to the ecosystem., and in the case of the incinerator, which is where my trash would go, the carbon is emitted as CO2. IMO, it's much better to have it in the garden nurturing the roses, no matter how it got there.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 12:48PM
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"'s much better to have it in the garden nurturing the roses, no matter how it got there."

Quoted for truth. :)

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 12:55PM
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I have way too much during the growing season so it all gets chunked in the bin. During the winter however, when I am basically looking at scraps I will blend, pull back the mulch, and pour directly on the dirt. I haven't had any smell or bug issues and the plants and worms seem to love it.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 4:15PM
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I have been reading all the posts but still have a question: we own 0.5 acre, live with a well and a septic system -yeah, pretty basic... I do have a vegetable garden but never had much luck with a compost heap. My hubby gave me a Vitamix blender and I have been blending my veggie scraps and used coffee grinds with water in the blender and poured them into my garden beds. I noticed that it enhanced the structure of the soil, has anyone any idea whether it would hurt the seeds?
By the way, it's just my hubby and me, we eat very basic (no fast food etc) and do not have buckets of scraps every week.
Thanks for your feedback.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2008 at 12:38PM
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I used to have a device back in the 1970's that was essentially a 3 gallon metal can with a hole in the lid that was fitted with a long shaft and blade at the bottom. You would hook your power drill to the shaft and with a little water in your kitchen garbage, it soon became a soupy blended mixture. You could do fairly large stinky batches without destroying your kitchen blender. We just poured the slop into little trenches directly in the garden. It was wonderful. I have been looking for such a device recently to no avail. Has anyone else come across such a thing?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 2:06PM
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Could I posssibly ask that if anyone wants to add to this thread that they start another one? I mistakenly directed replies to my inbox when I first posted, and frankly, don't want to hear about it anymore.
Livin' the 'vida loca' over at wintersown now, never to venture forth again. (Except maybe to "lurk" at Garden Junk for a laugh now and then.)

    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 6:31PM
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