Baby Flies and Brute Force

So we’ve got this nifty compost barrel that Chef rigged up.

We’ve been diligently putting our food scraps into it.  Carrot peels, egg shells, tomato stems, banana peels, apple cores.  But we have noticed that there have been an awful lot of fruit flies around the barrel, and when we open the hatch to put scraps inside, we’d better have our mouths closed unless we want a little fly snack to flutter into our mouths.

In fact, one day I went ot put in some scraps, and found the outside of the barrel populated with baby flies.  I’m calling them “baby flies” because the word “maggots” is really disgusting, but that’s what they were.  And they were really disgusting.  Chef read the reason for our fly infestation in a magazine called Organic Gardening.  Compost is supposed to have a certain ratio of “greens” to “browns.”  The greens, which include food scraps, have a lot of nitrogen in them.  The browns, which include dead leaves, grass clippings, and newspaper, have carbon.  We’d been adding only greens and not enough browns.  We need more carbon for the compost to really heat up the way it’s supposed to and truly compost.  Chef added some newspaper and we’re on the lookout for other browns.  When autumn comes, we’ll have a better supply, but there aren’t a lot of dead leaves around right now.

However, we did add some dirt.  I’m not sure what that’s supposed to do (is there carbon in dirt?) and I’m sure Chef explained it to me, but the information left my head like an 18-year-old leaves school on the last day of the year.  The problem now is that the barrel is so heavy that, even with my amazing strength and physical prowess, I am unable to turn the silly thing.  Thankfully, Chef is a manly man and turned it the other day.  He said, though, that he’s beginning to understand the wisdom in the composters with gears, because less brute force is needed to turn the containers.

We’ll get the hang of this composting thing eventually.  This year is our practice year.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sharon
    Aug 25, 2010 @ 12:43:57

    I’m attempting composting as well. In my research I found that you are not supposed to add very much dirt. (On the other hand, my scraps aren’t compost yet so what do I know?)
    Here’s a link to my source:

  2. riTa
    Aug 25, 2010 @ 13:07:20

    Very informative.
    Our experiment with the ant farm method is ongoing as well.

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