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Monday, April 27, 2009

Compost: the 3-2-1 List

Teachers sometimes use a summarizer technique called a 3-2-1 review. It's an organized bulleted list that helps students process what they've learned and show that they've gained from the activity or unit. For example:

While watching the video, fill in the following.

  • 3 things you already knew
  • 2 new facts
  • 1 fact or concept that surprised you
New Year Goals

  • 3 positive habits I will keep up
  • 2 events I'm looking forward to
  • 1 goal or change for the new year
I can use the same 3-2-1 techique to summarize my composting progress.

3 items that decomposed completely: no sign of them at all!
coffee filters with coffee grounds
banana peels
waxed paper

2 items that did not decompose: I should leave these out from now on.
Dental floss. Don't laugh; it's waxy, contains food residue, it makes sense that it would decompose! But it didn't.
Pine litter from the bunny box. The small dry pieces partially degraded, while the wet one are gone for good. If I left the bin for another year, just to finish decomposing, I think the used litter would completely fade into the soil. Maybe when I get that second compost bin...

1 goal: another item to add to the compost pile, one more thing to keep out of the garbage can and landfill
Non-recyclable paper and cardboard. Examples: the cardboard circles from pizzas, food boxes containing crumbs or soiled with food residue, and the like. I've started ripping these into long strips and soaking them (in rain barrel water, of course) before adding the paper to the compost.
There you have it: my 3-2-1 review, a summary of the pile I just spread on the garden soil. The resulting assessment will be a long time coming: to fully evaluate the success of this year's bin, I'll need to wait until next spring, when the latest pile of compost (you guessed it) happens.

Hi, I'm Daisy, and I'm a newcomer to Green Spot-On. This post was first aired on Compost Happens, my main blog. I believe Earth Day is Every Day, and I'm always glad to find kindred spirits.


Khrysania said...

I was wondering how long it took you to compost the above mentioned items?

Another couple of questions I have about composting are:

How long do you typically wait before you turn/mix your compost?

Are there other items that you can list that compost well or not at all? I am curious what other odds & ends you have tried composting and how it worked for you.

I have been considering getting a compost bin from a recycling center near my mom's which is very basic, and cost effective. It is one that has to be hand turned/mixed.

Harmony said...

This was helpful! I am into my 2nd year of composting (pit style) and think I am finally getting the hang of it. I never gave a thought to putting non-recyclable paper and cardboard into it. I'm gonna start.

Daisy said...

Much of it composts itself within a month or two. When October comes, and with it the frost, I let the compost sit through the winter without adding to it. By spring, most of it has decomposed. I'd like to get a second bin so I can let the first one sit and really, fully decompose for a year while I'm filling the other.