You may be asking yourself why you are reading a post about composting in mid-November. Yes, I am writing about compost and yes, it is November 17th … and yes, you should keep reading! This post is coming about now because I have just gotten my Earth Machine composter set up in my backyard. A bit late on the 2011 compost track? Nah! My frame of mind is that I have an excellent head start on the 2012 compost season!
It’s true, you do need heat to successfully compost and the first thing that comes to mind when you mention “Maine” and “upcoming winter” is not heat, but that’s okay. We have filled our composter about halfway with yard leaves and other scraps that we came across while preparing our yard for snow. Though to be honest we have already had some of that in October (5 inches) and we were SO not ready for it, but now we are, so bring it on, Mother Nature! Our scraps will (very) slowly turn into nutrient rich soil even in the cold weather, until it freezes. Then when the early days of spring come along the decomposition will rapidly speed up and hopefully we will have decent dirt ready for us when we need it, later on in the spring.
Well, after that tangent it’s time to get to the POINT of this post! Tea! (of course) It is great for compost! Steeped tea leaves provide very small bits that compost very well, and if still wet gives the compost a bit of much-needed moisture. In most cases you can compost your bagged tea as well with just a couple of things to keep in mind: nylon tea bags are bad for compost (just cut them open and dump the tea leaves in) and staples will NOT compost. If you don’t want little staples in your compost just cut them out before you toss the tea bag in. There is also some concern that heat sealed tea bags contain plastics to help them seal. Plastics are not good for compost, so you may want research what your tea bags are made from before tossing them in the heap.
AND… if you like steeping tea that you drink, how about making some tea that your garden drinks? Compost tea! I have never tried this (duh, I just starting composting this week), but it seems like it could be pretty cool and beneficial to the garden. Here are some links to learn more about it: