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.
Ooh, quite a load here. Hi, I am Ed Bruske with DC Urban Gardeners, and we are here in my garden or on my back deck in the District of Columbia talking about composting. What you just saw me do is empty out the handy little bin that we use in our kitchen to collect kitchen scraps. You can do the planet a great big favor and your garden a favor by taking the things you normally throw out of the kitchen; these kitchen scraps from your food preparation and composting them instead. Did you know that at least 25% of everything we send to the landfill is kitchen scraps like this, and they could be recycled instead, that would save a lot of energy for everybody, and make some of that gardeners goal that does so much good for your garden. Well, what you see here is my daughter's having a lemonade stand in the last couple of days, so you're seeing a lot of lemon peels, but also some greens from salad we've been preparing. Oh, there is a filter with coffee grounds in it, yup, they are -- coffee grounds are very good for composting. A banana peel, some cabbage leaves, paper towels, yes, paper towels can be composted too, anything that was ever alive at point, paper towels come from trees, so they are organic and they can be composted. Some other things from around the house that you can compost that you might not have thought of here; pair of old underwear, my wife said get rid of them, so I took the elastic band off the underwear, I cut it up into pieces, that's 100% cotton, organic, that can be composted. This here is dryer lint, comes from the clothes, it can be composted. This shredded cardboard here, sometimes when I want to take out my aggregations, I take them out on a cardboard box. I just rip the box up into pieces. Since it's a forest product as well it can be compost, that's some of that good brown material if youve run out of leaves that you can put in your compost pile. This here, do you get junk mail, do you have a paper shredder? We do, we shred all of our personal documents, and they can go right into the compost heap. As well as newspaper, you may recycle your newspaper, but if you're looking for brown stuff to put in your compost pile, tear the newspapers up and put them in your compost instead. So, those are just a few of the things from around the house; there is an orange peel that you can compost. Get a container like this, they make them even nicer than that; ceramic or stainless steel, to collect your compost scraps in. Take them out to your compost heap, dig a nice big hole down into the compost and burry them really well in the compost. But there are some things that you should not compost that are bad for your garden and we're going to talk about those next.