Turning Food Scraps Into Good Garden Stuff

March 13, 2013
Shawn, Store Green Team Captain

Shawn, Store Green Team Captain

Here at Harmons we do a lot of composting.  Most of the compost from the stores comes from the produce department when we need to dispose of fruits and vegetables that no longer meet out quality standards as well as the trimmings from cut fruits and vegetables. Other departments also contribute to composting including the delicatessen, meat, and floral departments.

Composting is a key ingredient for Harmons to reach its diversion rate goals.  (In case you need a refresher, a diversion rate is what we are able to divert from a landfill to a recycling facility.)  Before Harmons began composting, our total store diversion rate was around 25-35 percent.  As soon as we started composting our diversion rate went up to 50-70 percent. The Harmons Floral Design Center composts all of the floral clippings and consistently runs at a diversion rate above 85 percent.

Our compost is picked up and taken to a facility where it can be combined with other composting programs.  Often these other programs come from the county and cities that have curbside composting and therefore includes a lot of yard waste.  Because Harmons store locations composts mostly fruits and vegetables, our compost is the darling of the recycling facilities.  Composting is a complex mix of different ingredients; fruits and vegetables will help the yard waste break down better and provide essential nutrients to the finished compost product.

Although it is a complex chemistry, composting at home doesn’t have to be difficult.  There are many composting systems, tools, and resources out there for you to compost in your backyards.  A quick search on the internet reveals many different bins and systems for composting yard waste and food.  There are small bins for your kitchen for a spot to store your food waste short term.  And of course, there are the larger bins for outside for the food waste and yard waste to be stored as it breaks down in a valuable and usable form for fertilizing your gardens this spring and summer.

Another quick search for composting books reveals thousands of books eager to explain to you the do’ and don’ts of composting.  They can be a great resource to know how to get started and to make the best decisions for your family’s composting.

In the Salt Lake Valley, we have a great resource called the Conservation Garden Park.  The park is a great place to learn about gardening, planting trees and shrubs, xeriscaping, and composting.  When the weather is warm, the park holds several different classes including a class scheduled on Saturday, May 11th about composting.  To learn more about this great resource you can visit http://conservationgardenpark.org/.  When the weather is nicer, I am planning a trip to the park myself and will let you know more about the fun stuff I see and learn!