If Michelle Obama is any indicator, we are likely to see the "victory garden" become a nationwide trend this summer. But millions of victory gardens will require millions of pounds of fertilizer, and if you know much about the fertilizer industry it is nasty business. So what's a green, recession era gardener to do?
Compost! Kitchen scraps make for the best fertilizer money can't buy and by diverting them into our gardens rather than our landfills, we are doing the environment a favor.
According to the EPA, about 1/4 of our household waste is compostable. Trucking that waste to landfills (and the methane released as the waste decomposes) significantly contributes to total greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. And though many landfills are now capturing that methane and using it to create energy, it would be ideal if there were a way to efficiently compost biodegradable wastes at home.
The big problem has always been the stench vs. convenience trade off. You could walk your kitchen scraps out to the compost pile every meal (big hassle) or you could get one of those counter top composting bins (big stench). I gave up on my composting bin after one too many science experiments exploded out onto the kitchen floor, and like many fellow greenies decide composting would be something I would get to one day, when I had more time.
But thankfully the Nature Mill offers convenient kitchen composting that is (allegedly) smell-free. Like a composting robot, the machine grinds up your kitchen scraps (it can handle about 5 lbs. per day) and regulates air flow and temperature to supercharge the production of the compost, which takes less than 2 weeks.
It also has a carbon-filter which takes out the smell, though it is hard to imagine a bunch of leftover Chinese smelling good after a few weeks of fermentation. Nevertheless, the Nature Mill seems to be a major advancement for those wanting to turn kitchen garbage into garden nutrients.