September 2nd, 2012
by Janet Clark
I used to feel guilty if I had to throw away a homegrown tomato. My husband grew them specifically for me, because nobody else in the family ate them. I devoured the first ripe tomatoes: I chunked them into salads, sliced them for BLT sandwiches and especially loved eating them along with corn on the cob. But as the season progressed, the bounty increased and the sheer volume of produce became intimidating.
“Eat a tomato for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” my husband suggested. I love tomatoes, but for breakfast?
Usually I gave away what I couldn’t eat or turn into sauce, but once in awhile a tomato would go bad before I had the chance to process it. Knowing how much I would crave garden-fresh tomatoes during the long dormant season, I felt bad throwing one in the garbage. No more, though.
I’ve learned the secret to turning trash into treasure, and it’s as simple as turning the wheel on my compost tumbler. Rotten tomatoes, wilting greens, peach skins, melon rinds and coffee grounds can make their way to the compost tumbler or bin, along with toilet paper rolls, paper towels, newspaper, grass clippings and dead leaves. In a short time, these throwaways turn into a rich soil amending compound that can be used to grow more vegetables, fruits, shrubs and other plants.
Since I started composting and recycling, I send very little to the landfill, seldom more than one garbage bag a week. I can save money on soil enriching products and minimize my carbon footprint at the same time. With a minimal initial investment for a bin or tumbler, you can create a treasure chest for the garden- and ditch the guilt over rotten tomatoes!