The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Compost: It’s What Vacations Are For

August 5th, 2010 · 4 Comments · Posted in garden

Doesn't everyone freeze their veg scraps?

Doesn't everyone freeze their kitchen scraps?

I could have titled this piece, Don’t Go on Vacation! After 10 days away from our kitchen garden, it will take me three passes with the push mower to get the grass under control again. The eggplants are splayed on the ground, so heavy are their fruits. The tomato plants I had been trying so hard to train up rebar are spreading in every direction. The heirloom Italian squash is trying to engulf the entire lawn. And the cucumbers–what can you say about untrained cucumbers? They are everywhere.

The whole situation is only more confounding because of all the compost we put on our vegetable beds this year.  Have you ever heard of six-foot-tall zinnia or cosmos? The paths between the beds have completely disappeared. The garden truly has become an urban jungle.

Meanwhile, as I untangle our vegetables, I opened the cooler we took to Maine and retrieved a treasure. That would be all the kitchen scraps I saved from our week in South Freeport. At various times, there were as many as 10 people staying at our “cottage” on Casco Bay. The kitchen is a cook’s dream, with lots of wide counter tops, a six-burner gas range and a convection oven. It did not pain me at all to cook breakfast and dinner (there are other capable hands around to take care of lunch.) We cooked everything from scratch, including lots of fresh vegetables: squash, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, lettuce. You can imagine the piles of kitchen scraps we generated.

Call me crazy, but I just couldn’t see letting all those wonderful scraps go to waste. Anyone else would have just tossed them in the garbage, I suppose, but I saved them all in shopping bags and put them in the freezer. In the end, I collected several bags of scraps. Good thing the cottage had a spare fridge with freezer in the basement. For the return home, all those frozen scraps kept the cooler well chilled. This morning when I opened it there was still a bag of mostly frozen ice at the bottom and the scraps were perfectly preserved.

The only thing left to do was to take the bags out to the compost heap, dig a hole and empty my scraps into it. You can see the result in the photo above. We even saved some egg cartons, which will compost just as well. In another year, we’ll be spreading this on the garden–a little piece of Maine, planted permanently here in the District of Columbia, about a mile from the White House.

Leave a Comment

Please note: Your comment may have to wait for approval to be published to ensure that we don't accidentally publish "spam". We thank you for understanding.


  • Viki

    What a great way to remember vacation.
    Your vacation sounds crazy wonderful! I tried the chard the other day…yummy!

  • Steph

    Ed, this sounds so much like me! And then my husband would call me crazy and throw a fit, lol. Such is life. Glad you had such a great trip, I can totally sympathise with the garden going crazy…this was our first year with raised beds and you can barely get through the 2 foot paths! Pumpkins in a raised bed = 26 foot long pumpkin plants!

  • Maya

    You’re crazy. Just kidding! Love that you did that.

  • Joanna

    Love it. Also slightly dreading garden on our return after 7 days away. Growing cucumber for 1st time, no training yet 😉