Ed BruskeAn award-winning journalist for The Wasington Post in a previous life, Ed Bruske is a Master Gardener and president of D.C. Urban Gardeners, a group dedicated to the greening of the District of Columbia through public education and hands-on volunteer efforts. An accomplished public speaker, Ed focuses his lecture activities on composting and soil ecology. He practices daily organic recycling through composting and vermicomposting at his home about a mile from the White House, where he and his wife are transforming their corner lot into an edible landscape. Ed is a personal chef, caterer and chef-in-residence at The Washington Youth Garden, located at the U.S. National Arboretum in the District of Columbia. He also writes about composting and cooking from the garden on his blog, The Slow Cook, www.theslowcook.blogspot.com.
Hi, I am Ed Bruske with D.C. Urban Gardeners here in my garden in the District of Columbia. We are talking about composting and some of you may be thinking taking all those scraps, grass clippings, leaves, kitchen scraps, food and trying to compost it out here and the neighbors are not going to like that. Smells, pests, raccoons, rats that's never going to happen, not here in my neighborhood. Well, it doesn't have to be that way at all. Maybe when you have been in the country and passed a farm where the soil was newly tilled and you took a good whiff of that and thought that is the smell of the good earth. Well, this is my compost and it smells just like that. The reason is that there are certain bacteria, good bacteria that give off that good earth smell and those are the kind of bacteria you want to keep in your compost pile and the way you do that is by keeping a right balance of materials, nitrogen to carbon, grass clippings to leaves to kitchen scraps and also making sure that your compost pile gives oxygen by turning it. That is one way to keep smells from happening. The bad smells that you associate with garbage come from a different kind of bacteria. They are the kind of bacteria that do not like oxygen, they are called anaerobic bacteria. They are the one that make those really putrid, awful, garbage smells and we are not going to have any of those in our compost pile. Another way you can keep out pests such as raccoons or rats or whatever it might be is having a totally enclosed compost bin. That would be not one like this with loose wire mesh or an open top like this, but something that is built totally enclosed out of wood, fine wire mesh or perhaps a manufactured compost device that is enclosed and designed to keep pests out. We will be talking about that a little later. The next thing we want to talk about is the tools that we need to compost for our garden.