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What do a 5-gallon bucket, passion for gardening, and love of coffee all have in common? Answer - compost and convenience. I'm always looking for ways to minimize what I send to the landfill and one of the easiest ways for me to do this is to compost as much as I can from the kitchen. An added benefit is that compost enriches the garden soils, which in turn reward me with beautiful blooms that attract butterflies, honeybees, and hummingbirds.

Step 1: My Problem to Solve

Coffee grounds and paper filters, egg shells and cardboard cartons, veggies, fruit and much more accumulate quickly. How could I avoid making daily trips, especially during the winter, to the compost area of our yard more than 300 feet from the house?

Enter an unused 5-gallon plastic bucket with handle and lid, which we originally purchased for doing a house project. I add the food scraps to the pot under the kitchen sink and empty it when full, usually in a day or two, into the bucket I keep in the utility room. Every 7-10 days, when this bucket is more than half full and quite heavy, I take a walk to the compost area in the lower yard, where I add it and turn the active compost pile.

Step 2: Picture-Perfect Gardens

One half of the compost space is 'resting' and the other half is 'active'. Using this setup, I have fresh, loamy compost ready to use in 6-8 weeks. This humble bucket is an integral part of the compost setup in my home; I know I wouldn't compost nearly as much as I do because of the inconvenience of walking the mulch out daily. I amend the soil in the flower and herb gardens with the kitchen compost and the results are amazing.

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