The Santa Monica city government has a special deal: For $25, city residents can get a fancy-schmancy Smith & Hawken biostack composting unit. The best part of the deal is that for a mere $10 more, non-residents can get one too. So a few weeks ago, K. picked one up for us on his lunch hour.
It was dead easy to put together, and since then we have been getting our compost on quite happily. I feel mildly guilty about having the mow-and-blow guys (whom we inherited from the previous owner), but the fact is, without them, composting would be more of a challenge: We have no trouble collecting the kitchen scraps that can't be used for stock, but raking leaves (read: carbon sources for the compost) is pretty much beyond us. Yeah, we're capable, but it ain't never gonna happen.
But thanks to the mow-and-blow guys, we always have a bin full of leaves and clippings to toss into the compost bin with the eggshells, squash rinds, and limp greens. And when I say "toss," I mean with a shovel and (meager) upper-body strength (yeah, so says the woman who can't lift a hand to rake the yard).
The results have been pretty amazing. In less than a month, all of our kitchen leavings and yard scrapings have generated a pile of stuff that is well on its way to earning its compost certificate. Before I left on my business trip, there was a two-foot-high pile of multicolored gunk, but when I got back, it was only a foot high and all brown, with a pretty consistent texture, smelling vaguely of garden. It's a miracle!
Pretty soon the question is going to be what to do with the compost. We can put some on the roses, and of course my container garden, but I don't see any point to fertilizing the grass. If you need compost, drop us a line!