Brooding On

Trial and Error

Meet my compost pail.  This little guy sits atop our kitchen counter, between the sink and the cutting board and holds all of our veggie scraps and other items destined for the outside compost pile.  As many of you know, we are learning this whole "homesteading" lifestyle as we go -- often from books and occasionally from conversations with others who have more experience.  However, "what type of compost pail do you recommend?" is not exactly a common soccer-field sideline topic and none of my books provided me much insight, so I'm offering you here a chance to learn from my own failure.

I bought a cannister from Wal-mart to gather our scraps.  It was cheap, holds about 3/4 gallon, and coordinates with our countertops, so I thought we were good to go.   The main problem can be seen in the top right photo (if you look very closely).  The screw in the middle of the underside of the lid is terribly rusted.  Why?  There's too much moisture in the pail.  Oh.  So, I guess it needs venitlation.  I tried leaving the lid off.  Oh.  It stinks and is a fruit fly breeding ground.

Also, how do you keep the pail from getting too nastified (is that even a real word?) in the bottom?  I tried the above method, lining the pail with a grocery store produce bag.  Suddenly, when I looked at my cute pail, carefully chosen for its coordination with my countertops, all I could see was a nasty plastic bag held in place by a rubberband.

Now, I'm doing this instead of using a bag liner, and it's working okay.  I put a handful of shredded newspaper in the bottom of the pail.  This absorbs some of the liquids and makes it easier to dump onto the pile.  I'm liking it, but there's still the rusty screw problem, so I'm still dreaming of the compost pail below.  (What?  You don't dream of compost pails?)

This little beauty (available at -- just click on the photo to see all the product info) holds 1.5 gallons, so I wouldn't have to dump everyday.  Also, it features a charcoal filter in the lid that allows for ventilaltion but prevents odor from seeping out.  Also, it has a handle.  And handles are just, um, handy.
So, if you're considering adding a compost pail to your kitchen countertop, I hope you may be able to learn from my mistakes.  :)