So, I know a compost bin is basically an oozing mess by definition, but my bin has sort of gone beyond an acceptable amount of nasty bilgy-ness lately.
If you remember my watermelon carving incident, you know I essentially created a rabid alien instead of a shark. Not only was the beast rather hideous, but the watermelon itself was a mealy, inedible disaster. It wasn’t even fit for flavoring tequila, so I hacked it into pieces and rather unceremoniously hurled it into my compost bin.
A few days later when I was outside watering my plants, I noticed my cilantro plant was looking rather sickly.
As I knelt down to inspect the wilting cilantro more closely, I noticed a repugnant ooze leaking out of the compost bin beside the plant.
Upon opening the bin, I discoverd it was far too wet, and it also smelled rather foul. A bin that is too wet (or too dry) will not break down the waste efficiently. A smelly bin is also a hint you have a problem on your hands. It can mean the bin is not getting enough air and is therefore producing anaerobic bacteria (which smell worse than their aerobic friends).
It can also mean your carbon to nitrogen ratio (C:N) is off. For those of you who weren’t insane enough to take as much chemistry as I did in college, this is nerd for “there’s too much green shit in your bin and not enough brown.” (The greens are the kitchen scraps and the brown stuff would be paper, dry leaves, and whatnot.) Given the size of the watermelon, I figured the problem was the C:N ratio and not a lack of oxygen. I figured the best way to fix both the stench and the ooze would be to add dry carbon-rich materials, so I consulted the internet to confirm my hypothesis. It seems I was on the right track because the internet confirmed my suspicion. (I love you internet. Almost as much as I love cilantro.)
I was saving newspaper ads to make a papier mache pirate ship centerpiece for my Peter Pan birthday party, but my bin problem was a little more pressing. I mean I can’t have brown sticky ooze all over my balcony, so Captain Hook will have to wait for his Jolly Roger centerpiece for another day. I ripped up a lot of Ralph’s advertisements for baby wipes and Bacardi, and put the paper strips in my bin.
Hopefully it won’t be as foul in a few days. If you want to know how I made the bin in the first place, the instructions are here.
And now that we’ve covered ooze and filth, it’s time for me to wash my hands, put on something pink, and crank up the Carly Rae Jepsen because my geeky tomboy to girly girl ratio is getting out of whack up in here.
Do you have any other compost bin suggestions for me? Oh, and if you know how to not kill cilantro, please tell me! If this plant dies, it will be my second one in two months. I am starting to feel like a cilantro serial killer!