Creating Compost Potting Soil from Garbage

Elma Mayes shares her safe way of disposing of kitchen garbage, while creating a rich compost potting soil for the garden.


| November/December 1970


In our back yard near the trash burner I have what I call my garbage disposal unit. It starts out being a hole in the ground two by two by two feet. Near this hole I keep a container of slack lime in a waterproof container. After each meal all the leftovers, vegetable peels, lettuce leaves, coffee grounds, tea bags, and even cigarette butts are dumped in. On top of the garbage I toss about one cup of lime and enough dirt to cover the fresh deposit.

Within two or three months, the garbage has completely decomposed and turned into a good, loamy potting soil. I then dip the hole clean, pile the dirt beside the hole to allow it to sun and air sweeten and use the amount I need for repotting. I use what's left again to cover the fresh garbage. Eventually the soil becomes too rich for some plants, and it's necessary to bring in a bucket or so of new dirt for covering.

This is a very easy and sanitary way to dispose of garbage, and I am able each year to save several dollars that I would otherwise spend on commercial fertilizers and potting soils.





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