Frosting Buckets and a Repurposed Compost Tumbler


February 22, 2012 by Leah

6:45 Breakfast. Aaron says, “Your mission today is to get a kitchen composting container in place. If I can be so presumptuous as to assign you a mission.”

Since I’d been planning to look into this whole frosting bucket trend (see my friend Kristina’s take on them) anyway, and since both Aaron and I have been generally appalled by how much perfectly good compostable material we’ve been throwing away all winter, I didn’t mind the presumption too much.

Let me back up. We moved into our house in October and between that time and this did nothing whatsoever to our yard except extend some fence around one end to give Duke a contained space from which to surveil the neighbors.

Last weekend, I finally ordered seeds (and a couple of live blueberry plants – I didn’t think I wanted to spend $15.50 per plant, but then I imagined chubby toddler fingers picking berries in the yard next year and it made me smile). My garden planning spreadsheet is coming along, but since it’s not done, I don’t have a garden schematic yet, which seems silly as we should have been out there killing grass last fall. Aaron seems to think that, now that we’re homeowners, we should make our raised beds a little nicer than the piles we had last year, and I think he’s thinking about edging them with scrap lumber. I’m thinking about making seed trays with scrap lumber (as friend Kristina’s husband David did last year), as well as cobbling together some sawhorses or something to hold the seed trays up off the ground in our sun porch. (Bending over is starting to get difficult. Squatting, on the other hand, I’m supposed to be practicing, so maybe I should scrap the sawhorse/table idea.)

All of this would be easier if we had any scrap lumber. I put an ad on Craigslist yesterday inquiring as to whether anyone in the area has seen any pallets or lumber lying around. I do know that the local landfill sells compost and topsoil by the boatload, we have a ton of yard waste, and we could probably even find cow/goat/chicken manure around here pretty easily, so we shouldn’t have the same kind of troubles procuring bed-making materials as I ran into last year. We may have some trouble transporting all this dirt, but Aaron has been jonesing for a second vehicle of the 1982 Toyota wagon or small pickup variety since I’ve known him, so perhaps this would be a good time for him to find one. Or I can just drop the seats in the Prius and line the space with a tarp. Whatever.

The one thing, other than seed ordering, that we’ve actually accomplished when it comes to getting the garden in place, is we finally have our composting system underway. I discovered last fall (thanks to an informational booth at the farmer’s market) that the City of Walla Walla sells compost tumblers – made of repurposed materials – at cost. We were living in the 5th wheel at the time, so I made a mental note to remember this for when we moved into a house. I remembered it when we moved in last fall, but by then I’d lost the contact information of the person who ran the program. Two or so months later, the City ran an ad in the paper with some information about sustainability programs that included a mention of the compost tumblers. I made a note to keep that edition of the paper, and, of course, immediately recycled it.

Somehow, this week, after failing dozens of times to find information about City-sponsored compost tumblers through the usual avenue (Google), I ran across the information I needed while searching about how to buy compost from the landfill here in Walla Walla. Needless to say, I took down the name and number of the Sustainability Coordinator (she’s in the Public Works Department) and called her. $102 (or, about $50 cheaper than the cheapest model one might find at Home Depot) later and we have a dusty compost tumbler sitting in the baby’s room, waiting to be assembled. (I meant to do it today during our power outage, but I napped instead.)

Which brings us to this morning and the mission I’d kind of grudgingly accepted. I’d read about how awesome frosting buckets can be for storing bulk foods, but I hate, hate, hate talking to strangers or asking for things from, well, anyone. Then Kristina posted about frosting buckets, and I knew that the solution for our kitchen compost would be as easy as getting over my irrational fear of approaching people.

I guess being pregnant must help when it comes to my getting over my terror of asking people for things, because I went to the bakery counters at not one, but two grocery stores today and asked for frosting buckets without having a nervous breakdown. They did not have any at the first place, but they were very nice about it. The woman at the second place (Safeway) told me they indeed sell frosting buckets for $1 each and went and found me five 3.5 gallon buckets, with nice, tight-fitting lids. I washed them all down, and one is already handily containing pineapple scraps and a dead house plant. (Funny that our “money tree” died as we’re about to have a baby, huh?)

So, I guess the moral of this story is: people are not usually as scary as I think they will be. There’s also a secondary lesson to be learned, which is: there is no shame in clipping things out of the newspaper.


Stay tuned for our next big adventure: Friday we go to the Builders ReSupply Store at the Sustainable Living Center. I want old windows from which to make cold frames and Aaron just thinks it looks like a cool place.


3 thoughts on “Frosting Buckets and a Repurposed Compost Tumbler

  1. David G says:

    My next project with the frosting buckets is a vermiculture project, worms.

  2. David G says:

    Till you find that pickup truck, you might consider renting one from Lowes, Home Depot, Uhaul, or even a car rental agency. You can often get one for the day for under $50. Then you just have to make a day of getting compost, mulch, material, etc.

    For making beds, if you want a raised bed that will not rot and will not poison you or your plants, take a look at Hardiplank or Hardipanel. They are boards made from cement that are normally used for siding or other outdoor cladding. They are grey, but can be painted if you need some bright color.

  3. Marla says:

    have you planned for your soil acidification yet?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: