If you love to garden and want to create lots of compost, you’ll want to meet Emmanuelle Soumeilhan! Emmanuelle learned how to compost “from scratch” and feels like she has been composting forever. Although she did not compost while growing up in her native France, she has clearly made up for lost time.
Reasons to Compost
“Composting at home makes sense because I garden. Growing food, I realized immediately that I needed a good source of Nitrogen and other minerals, and it’s expensive to buy compost,” says Emmanuelle. “I like making something that I can use out of waste. Plus, my garbage is never full.”
Different Systems for Different Needs
Emmanuelle is a compost connoisseur and has many different systems going at once to meet different needs. These systems include an insulated compost tumbler, bokashi composter, Green Cone (solar digester), and several different backyard piles.
It starts in the Kitchen
Emmanuelle doesn’t like having lots of food scraps in her kitchen so she collects them in a small bowl and empties it often. She puts food scraps in her compost tumbler year-round and in the winter, she supplements the process with her bokashi system. Bokashi is a method of indoor composting using fermentation and is a much faster process than backyard composting.
Then moves outside (mostly)
She keeps the compost tumbler outside in the warmer months, but in the winter, Emmanuelle moves it into her unheated garage to make adding her food scraps easier. The added warmth also helps speed up the composting process.
The Green Cone is for animal waste, both cat and dog, and anything else that might be harder to manage in Emmanuelle’s other systems. She installed it in her flower garden so she’s not worried about what type of organic waste she puts in it since she’s not growing food there.
Emmanuelle doesn’t want weed seeds in her compost so she keeps a very large pile of grass clippings and puts any weeds deep in the middle where the generated heat will kill any seeds. She also uses metal cans with drilled holes to dry out and kill weeds. She has piles of horse manure and wood chips, both sourced from neighbors, that she can mix in to get her compost recipe right, trying to preserve as much Nitrogen in the compost as possible. Finally, she spreads the finished compost on her garden, boosting its fertility and the flowers and vegetables that her family enjoys as a result.