Composting guerrilla style

This is kind of a goofy video but I love the concept of guerrilla composting! As we in Toronto get closer to the last yard waste pick up date of the season (week of Dec. 10 in my neighbourhood), the window of opportunity to grab up bags of leaves put out for pick up is almost up.

I’m lucky enough to have ready, easy access to horse manure at my parent’s farm. I usually try bring some to the city once it’s fully composted, but getting it relatively fresh for composting at home is another option… although transporting uncomposted manure in tubs in our car may be stepping outside the acceptable line as far as my hubby is concerned!

I hadn’t really thought of grabbing up bagfuls of coffee grounds from the local coffee house but that’s a very smart idea too. I’m sure there are already many people taking advantage of this in the city, but I should ask around at my local shops. We already compost virtually everything that we can — I have two black composters at work in my backyard along with a wire leaf mulch composter, and I’m pretty impressed with myself that this year I’ve only put out a few bags of leaves and bins of the tougher garden waste (stick windfall mostly); most of our leaves have gone into the leave mulching wire bin, or I’ve ground them up with our new WORX leaf mulcher (which we got for a song, on sale for $20 at Canadian Tire!) for adding to the beds as insulation for my garlic crops.

What it really comes down to is space for composting. I’m lucky enough to have a large backyard. My composters work very well even though they’re in 100% shade. They would be working much faster in the sun, but as they are, I can usually sift out a couple wheelbarrows full of great compost twice a year. Guerrilla composting on the magnitude shown in the video requires a good spot you can back a pick-up truck into and make a nice big pile. It would work even better if you had a small loader tractor to turn it once in a while. But all the same, the concepts could be applied to a single black composter in a small yard, if you wanted.

My food-growing passion has rubbed off on my parents enough that this year my Dad plowed a small plot where my mom and I are going to grow some winter squashes next year, along with maybe a few other veggies that don’t do so well in my small urban patch. In the city, squashes take up an enormous amount of space, and they usually don’t make it to maturity before the squirrels eat them. But on the farm the squirrels are minimal, and my parent’s dog does a good job keeping them at bay. We plan to grow things that aren’t super time sensitive for harvesting, as I can only get to the farm every so often and don’t want all the work to land on my mom, which means peas and beans are out, but maybe some potatoes are in! I’m excited to have an extension to my grow space next year! As the plot was formerly horse pasture, compost will be an important factor in getting the ground grow-ready.