My husband and I have grand plans for our backyard. Dreams right now. But you know what they say. A plan is a dream you write down. Or something like that. I envision a food garden that feeds us, our neighbors, our friends on occasion. And my husband thinks of something meticulously designed and thought out. One thing we do agree on is that we want to grow our garden in as sustainable a fashion as we can. Starting with the ground itself.

I don’t have to tell you we produce a lot of waste. That the footprint of waste is far reaching and consequential. But we don’t live in a perfect system and must navigate around roadblocks as best we can if we believe in living a sustainable life that’s friendly to our planet. Composting seemed the most logical answer.

If you aren’t familiar, there are a lot of resources online and Google is always your guide across the online sea (goddamn that was cheesy). I went to our local Barnes & Noble (they still exist in brick and mortar form!) and roamed the gardening section until I found Organic Book of Compost by Pauline Pears and The Farmer’s Almanac Vegetable Gardner’s Handbook. The most difficult part so far, believe it or not, was finding the right compost bin. I looked on Home Depot’s app and found an inexpensive build-it-yourself kind of situation called GeoBin, but the darn thing wasn’t in stock at my local Lowe’s or Home Depot. Of course Amazon had it, so I relented and had it shipped.

The basics are this: the brown (cardboard, lint, paper towels) and green (produce scraps, grass trimmings, coffee grounds) waste we produce in our daily lives are cooking in a circular, walled-in portion of our backyard, composting down into what is referred to as black gold. It’s super nutrient rich and a great way to put back into the ground what you took from it. And a great way to supercharge your garden.

The very start of our compost pile

All of this preamble is to say I am so excited to have started composting, and with spring creeping up on us (it was 70 degrees today, swoon) going outside into our semi-grassed in backyard has been something of a dream come true. We’re talking about building raised beds next so we can get started on planting. We have successfully transplanted a store-bought basil plant into this really cool planter from Target, which gave me the confidence to try the same with some dill I picked up at Trader Joe’s. As soon as I transplanted it, it died. Just wilted right on over all harikari-like. But I kept watering it and sitting it in front of the window to get ample sunlight, and sure enough it is starting to stand up again! I’ll try to have pictures for the next update.

Clearly we’ve been enjoying Brussels sprouts lately

I’m really looking forward to seeing how the compost progresses. It gets pretty hot here in the summer months (consistent triple digits for weeks/months) so I put the compost pile in a place that is partially shaded when the sun is at a certain angle to our backyard fence. But I’m a little concerned it’s maybe not getting enough direct sunlight. Or it’s only getting the direct sunlight in the morning and I just haven’t noticed yet. I really need to keep an eye on it. The temperature and exposure to dry air will impact the quality of the compost, as well as its ability to do its job. So it’s important to maintain a healthy balance in stasis.

Follow me on Instagram @mrscystalparker for even more adventures in composting and gardening!