Composting

6 Problems With City Composting—And What You Can Do About It

Composting is an efficient way to create a self-reliant system where kitchen scraps and yard waste are broken down and transferred back into the soil. The process is simple, but urban dwellers might have their own set of unique challenges composting in close quarters to neighbors. Laura Matter, Garden Hotline program coordinator for Seattle Tilth, points out a few of the issues they might have to contend with while turning their waste into a valuable garden amendment.

1. Smell
If your compost smells, typically this means your compost pile has too much green matter, which can include fresh kitchen waste and green grass clippings.

“The higher the nitrogen, the higher the smell potential,” Matter says.

To remedy the problem, include an adequate amount of brown materials, such as dried leaves or straw. You’ll also want to chop everything you add to the pile as small as you can, and turn it frequently—Matter recommends once a week, if possible. The more you do, the faster you’ll have beautiful compost to add to your garden.

If smell becomes too big a problem for you or your neighbors, you might consider another composting strategy.

“We like to tell people to think about food and yard waste in separate settings,” Matter says. Food waste in a traditional compost system is often the cause of unpleasant odors. If this is a problem you face, she recommends composting the food waste in a worm bin or food digester.

A worm composter can be built from easily purchased materials, such as plastic storage containers, to create a simple system. You add kitchen scraps to a base of shredded newspaper and cardboard to provide the proper environment for the red wigglers, which chow down on your food scraps.

“[Red wigglers] live in leaf litter on the forest floor. They are not a soil worm,” Matter says. As long as you keep them happy in a space where they’re not too hot or cold, they make quick work of most food waste with practically no odor. Because they take up very little space, worm bins can be kept practically anywhere you would place a kitty litter box.

You can make a simple food digester by drilling holes in the bottom third of a garbage can (preferably metal to keep out wildlife). Partially bury the bin, so the holes are covered, toss in kitchen scraps, and cover with the lid. There is more smell associated with this type of composter, but it is contained by the lid.

2. Rodents and Other Wildlife
You don’t have to live in the country to deal with wildlife. In Seattle, urban dwellers have to battle Norway rats and even black bears in suburban areas, Matter says. She recommends fortifying an outdoor worm bin or compost pile with hardware cloth to minimize the opportunities for rodents to find their way to the food-scrap buffet.

“If you’re building a bin system, you have to turn it (regularly), and you have to move it,” she says.

Rats have a more discerning palate than many people give them credit for, and they’re partial to fresh food. By turning your pile regularly, you reduce the appeal for rodents or other wildlife. If you can move the bin every few seasons, you’re less likely to create a permanent habitat for mice or rats.

When raccoons, bears or other larger wildlife are an issue, it’s wise to process kitchen scraps in a separate system, such as the worm bin or food digester mentioned above, to eliminate the temptation and reward.

3. Space
A textbook compost pile needs space.

“For yard waste, we talk about the three-bin system,” Matter says. “You fill one bin, and then turn it to the next bin and the next bin.”

The ideal size for each bin is 3-by-3 feet, an area large enough to allow for a pile that will heat up and break down properly. Smaller sizes will work, but they will take more time and care to achieve the same result.

A 9-foot system might be too much for a small backyard. Matter recommends using plastic tumblers for these situations. To “turn” the pile you dump out the materials, and then scoop them back into the barrel. It’s not as efficient as the three-bin system, but it gets the job done.

4. Too Much Waste
Sometimes people produce more yard waste than they can compost. To make the most of your composter, chop the materials as fine as possible. If there’s still too much, consider focusing on the kitchen scraps and send the bulk of the yard waste to your municipal composting program.

5. Changing Landscape
When you’re working with a small backyard, little changes can make a big difference. A new garage next door can shade the compost bin, and a cut-down tree can completely alter the environment. The best bet is to remain flexible and be aware of these changes so you can place the bin in the best space.

6. Angry Neighbors
You also need to consider what your neighbors see. What looks like a beautiful pile of fertilizer to you can look like a garbage dump to them. Some cities require residents to use a closed compost system versus a simple pile. Even if you decide to build a proper bin, you might want to consider screening it or planting around it to make it visually more appealing.

Compost is an invaluable resource for the urban gardener, and while city composting presents its own set of challenges, with a little planning you can have an effective system no matter where you live. If you need help getting started, Seattle Tilth offers excellent advice and plans for starting your own system.

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10 Natural Ways for Better Sleep

“Sleep is the golden chain that binds health and our bodies together”. This maxim holds true across all cultures and geographies. Depriving sleep will make you not just irritable on a daily basis but also affect your metabolic rate, digestive system and make you susceptible to various ailments and life threatening diseases. Sleep is the best meditation that you can give your body. An adult needs 6.5 to 8 hours sleep daily depending on their exhaustion levels which are not just physical but also mental level.

The sleep wake cycles known as the Circadian Cycle affects the daily rhythms of your sleep. Hormones such as Melatonin, Cortisol and Serotonin also affect your sleep. An understanding in these working will help you get peaceful sleep. The fine balance of quality and quantity of sleep is required to maintain optimum health levels.

Here are 10 Natural ways to have better sleep. We give the various easy and natural to do things that can positively alter your habits with regards to SLEEP SCHEDULES, BED TIME HABITS & DAY-TO-DAY LIFESTYLE CHOICES.

SLEEP SCHEDULE

Fix Bed Times – Always fix your sleep times at night and have a fixed time to wake up. Try to stick to this schedule even during weekends. Doing this on a regular basis will eventually led to you not needing an alarm clock

Naturally regulate Circadian Cycle – Sticking to fixed timings of sleeping and waking up will help in regulating the body sleep wake cycle. You will no longer have to yawn your mornings in snoozing the alarm clock

Go to Bed when you are tired – Hit the sack only when you are tired. Tossing in bed and counting numbers will only led to more lethargic next day. In case if you feel sleepless after hitting the bed, get out of the bed and do something relaxing and come back only after feeling sleepy

BED TIME HABITS

Always sleep in dark – Our body starts secreting Melatonin after sunset. This hormone is a switch off button for our body and to help it relax. Lights of any kind prohibit the secretion of this hormone leading to alertness of the mind. Melatonin is a natural way for your body to let go of its guard and relax

Create your own relaxing bedtime routine – Stress free routines such as planning what to wear the next day, light reading, soothing music or relaxing scents will help in enhancing sleep quality. Create a routine. Do not add any novelty factor. A new scent can wake up your senses. A soothing hot water bath before bedtime can also help in making you sleep better

Avoid Technology – The blue light emitting from TV, Smart phones, Laptops, and Tablets affects your sleep. Do not watch any of these before dozing off. Switch off all these electronic gadgets and avoid its usage near night time

DAY TO DAY LIFESTYLE CHOICES

Avoid Caffeine, Nicotine after 2pm – Coffee, Tea, Alcohol, Smoking affects the quality of your sleep. These are better avoided for a relaxing night sleep. Caffeine, Nicotine found in these substances is known to alert your brain and also making your blood pressure to shoot up. These substances will be a hindrance to a good night’s sleep

Do not exercise 4 hours before your sleep time – Exercising makes your body secrete Cortisol. A stress hormone which immediately puts your body in an awake state

Have a light dinner – Avoid having greasy, oily, high carb dinner. This activates your digestive system and keeps you from getting peaceful sleep. Do not have anything heavy 2 hours prior to your sleep time

Bed should be to sleep – Avoid bringing work to your bed. Dedicate your bed to only sleeping. Create a nice, cozy place only to sleep. Avoid working, eating, drinking or even talking on phone while you are in your Bed Zone

These easy and natural ways will guarantee you quality and peaceful sleep. Every morning you will wake up fresh and energized to carry on your each day with aplomb.

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Body Scrub – Coconut Lime Sugar Recipe

With Mother’s Day this weekend, it’s time to start thinking about gifts for the special women in your lives.  Now, I don’t know about you…but as a Mother myself, I prefer gifts that are of the pampering kind.  I have been obsessed with using DoTerra Essential Oils and just got some Lime oil.  It smells AMAZING!  So…I made a Coconut Lime Sugar Scrub.

If you have been hanging around The Idea Room, you have been aware of my Sugar Scrub obsession.  At the bottom of this post, I will share with you my entire collection of Sugar Scrubs so that you can take a look at them if you are interested.

Since my food allergy diagnosis, I have incorporated Coconut Oil as my main cooking/baking base and I am in LOVE with it.  It is the perfect oil to use in this scrub because it has a slight scent and leaves the sugar a nice, crisp white.  It also leaves your freshly scrubbed skin feeling soft and smooth.

Plus, the combination of Lime and Coconut scream summer, which we are totally looking forward to at our house.  I also threw in some fresh grated coconut to give the scrub a little more texture.

You just might want to eat this stuff…which would totally be fine since everything is edible :)!

All you need is a cute jar and a label, which I am providing as a free download (see below for link) and you have a great gift for that special Mother or woman in your life.  You will want to make a really big batch so you can keep some for yourself!

Or if you want to get really creative, you could gift your sugar scrub inside of a coconut shell after the fresh coconut meat has been removed. Then wrap it up with a cellophane wrapper and a cute little tag.

To make this Coconut Lime Sugar Scrub, you will need the following items.

Supply List

Coconut Oil
Granulated White Sugar
doTerra Essential Lime Oil
Shredded Coconut

Coconut Lime Sugar Scrub
Ingredients

1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
1 cup white sugar
1 TBSP shredded coconut
6-8 drops of Lime Essential Oil
Instructions

Melt Coconut oil in microwave.
Mix in with the sugar, until fully incorporated.
Add the coconut and the Lime Oil.
Mix together.
Makes one cup of scrub.

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