Tag Archives: plan

Life Beyond Trash and How to Do It

In our seemingly endless efforts to reduce our impact, as well as monthly bills and dependance on outside services, a few months ago we made the scary step and cancelled our trash service.

What would replace it, we hoped, would not be a trash filled garage, but an efficient system of composting, burning, recycling and other seamless elimination of what is commonly known as “trash”.

I am glad to announce that three months later, we have in fact not been buried under trash, but have been successful in maximizing its use and here are some tips on how you too can take the plunge and explore Life Beyond Trash!


To manage your “trash” efficiently it must be categorized and re-invisioned as:

1. Compostibles:

Usually the most abundant trash category in the household. Anything of natural origin that can biodegrade in the composter. (If you don’t have one, you should start one!) This will include: kitchen scraps, grass and yard clippings, natural fabric, non-protein left-overs, rotten fruits and vegetables, chicken and other farm animal used bedding, straw etc.

This category will stay and be processed on the property, adding to the value and nutrients of the garden and lifestock.

2. Feedables:

This is especially helpful if you have animals. (If you don’t, you should get some 🙂 ) A lot of items can be both:  fed to animals AND composted, so it would be up to you to decide which item would serve the best purpose – what your animals like to eat and what is better for the composter balance. This category would include: vegetable kitchen scraps and left-overs for the chickens/pigs/goats/worms etc. Protein left-overs for your dogs/cats etc.

This category will stay and be processed on the property, adding to the value and nutrients of the garden and lifestock.

3. Burnables:

This is anything that would burn well, but slow to break down in the composter, like wood, paper, natural fabrics, hard/dry yard waste that does not decompose easily. Paper and cardboard can be either burned, recycled or turned into vermi-compost, so its up to you. One thing to consider: ashes can be used for the garden, so if you burn the paper you get ashes, if you recycle, you don’t get anything back!

TIP 1: I find that tea bags, even though are biodegradable, do not compost fast enough, but are perfect for burning (just make sure to only get the paper ones!).
TIP 2: We find trash burning a great family bonding time, plus with a few wood logs tossed in – a great opportunity to have a small cook-out dinner: generating energy for cooking while disposing of waste is stacking functions at its best. 🙂
TIP 3: Cardboard shipping boxes make a great weed block around plants or walkway cover. We lay flattened boxes around large plants, such as broccoli, cabbage, squash and it keeps down weeds, while slowly biodegrading and keeping in moisture! Its FREE, breathable and safe, as opposed to plastic. (Just take care to moisten the cardboard and put some dirt down to prevent it from flying away if you have strong winds, like we do.)

(Please use all precautions and burn safely!)

This category will stay and be processed on the property, adding to the value and nutrients of the garden and lifestock. 

burning trash

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Garden Goals 2013

When planning and planting the garden, it is always useful to outline the goals you wish to achieve with your planting for the the year and the benefits you wish to reap in the end. This helps to plan the types of crops you would like to plant, as well as their quantities. Things to consider: over-winter storage, canning, drying, freezing potential etc.

Here are our goals for this year:

1. Plant organic/untreated seeds when possible.

2. Plant heirloom/open pollinated seeds in order to gather seeds for next year.

3. Practice crop rotation, complimentary planting, circular batch framework and, as always, organic gardening.

4.  Supply enough to last all year:

To keep: potatoes, onions, garlic, beets, carrots and a few types of beans (kidney, black)

To freeze: peas, green beans, spinach, broccoli, lima beans, basil, parsley pesto.

To dry: chamomile, thyme, oregano, mint, sage, rosemary, nettles and many other herbs.

To can: pickles, tomatoes, strawberries.

To compost: stinging nettles.

5. Start an edible flower garden: poppies, borage, solomon’s seal, nasturtium, lavender, calendula and others.

6. Start berry bushes for future harvests: black and red currants, goji berries, blueberries, elderberries, raspberries, high-bush cranberry, blackberry.


What are the goals for your garden?

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