Cold storage

Over the weekend, I cooked some green beans and made short work of a bunch of parsley. The super-shiny little crock had not yet arrived, but it occurred to me that it might make sense to start saving some of the vegetable trimmings to throw in the compost pile we’re about to begin.

Bag of trashI thought about throwing everything in a plastic container, then decided that the plastic, sealable bag that had held the green beans would work perfectly as an interim compost pail. And, since I didn’t want to leave the bag out on the counter until the pail arrives, I stuck it in the freezer.

I warned Steve that the bag was there. All I was doing was trying to prevent a nasty defrosting incident, but Steve totally missed that point and went on to this:

“You’re freezing trash?” he asked.

“I’m not freezing trash,” I said. “I’m waiting for the compost pail to arrive. That is totally different.”

He was messing with one of his fish tanks while we had this discussion, including removing some live plants that he had determined were messing up the pH in the water. He mopped at his dripping arm with a paper towel, then started carrying the plant toward the trash can.

“Uh-uh,” I said. “That’s plant material. Put it in the freezer bag.”

“Unbelievable,” Steve replied, heading for the freezer. “UN-believable.”


15 Responses to “Cold storage”

  1. 1 Lydia April 17, 2007 at 11:44 am

    Actually, freezer trash is a fixture in my house (compostables go into a 22-gallon pail that we bought at a restaurant supply store; I think the pails are used for dough); our town doesn’t have trash pick-up, so we go once or twice a week to the dump. We keep food stuff in the freezer in between dump runs!

  2. 2 bright strangely April 17, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    i was told that freezing your stuff makes it compost faster. if that doesn’t shut up a boy faster than anything, i don’t know what will.

    incidentally, i just keep all my compostables in a brown paper grocery sack next to the trash can. there’s way too much to fit in the freezer or i’d do that too. the sack just gets torn up and composted with everything else. i take it out every few days and there hasn’t been an odor yet… right now it contains: coffee grounds and filters, used paper towels (no meat, grease or dairy), vegetable trimmings…

  3. 3 Katie April 17, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    Actually some paper is good for the compost – paper towels, brown paper and newspaper with black ink only. It add nitrogen (I think).

    But really, trust me, without meat or dairy it desn’t smell – unless you keep it sealed up in plastic…. then it will probably get slimy and smell.

  4. 4 cole April 18, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    Ooohhhh. Garbage aside…STEVE..what kind of tank do you have? Why do you monitor the pH?

    We just got an aquarium. We have a dalmation molly named Pinkalicious and a dwarf Africa underwater frog type thing, called Leap. It is fresh water, of course but we are pretty psyched. I hope to not kill them.

    BUT, yea compost. You are so weird. it is only garbage if you don’t eat it? It is not as though it gets moldy or slimy that fast. Sheesh. For a gardener you are pretty squimish. Sheesh. xx

  5. 5 inadvertentgardener April 19, 2007 at 6:44 am

    Katie, that is good to know — I can definitely add some paper to the mix once I get it started.

    Cole, I am so totally squeamish — you are absolutely right! Maybe less so than I used to be…but still. Yikes. And I’m going to see if Steve can swing by and answer your question, even though that will aid him in turning the blog into a sports-and-fish-tank blog. :-)

  6. 6 steve April 19, 2007 at 9:15 am

    I monitor my fish’s PH for one reason — love.

    Another valid reason is that different fish species prefer different PH levels. If it’s off too much they get weak and get sick easier. Behave strangely. Start writing poetry. It’s not pleasant. The commonly testable PH water scale range runs from 5 (acidic) to 9 (alkaline) with 7 being neutral.

    Here’s a bit about Dalmation Mollies:
    (They like PH around 7-7.8.) It’s also important to watch the temperature. If it gets too cold that’s bad, obviously. Too warm and that can spike nitrate levels, algae etc. Mollies are pretty hardy, though so you should be fine.

    Here’s an article about dwarf African frogs:

    They like PH in the 7.0-7.2ish range….what you might want to do is go to your pet store and ask them about buying a “7.0 Buffer.” This will be a bottle of highly concentrated liquid that you should add to your water when you change it. It will keep the PH right around 7.0, should remove chlorine (check the label) and heavy metals while adding other stuff into the water that the fish need…Definitely do this.

    If you add water straight out of the tap (I assume you know this but mention it anyway) it will be filled with chlorine which will kill the fish (or stress them and eventually kill them). You also don’t know what your PH is…but that brings up the point that you can either buy a water test kit or bring a sample of your tap water and aquarium water to the pet store and ask them to test it. Your tap water might be close to neutral in which case you might not need the buffer. This seems like a hassle but once you know the situation, it’s easy to deal with. The buffer is helpful because you add it each time and are done — if you change your water regularly and add the buffer you don’t have to worry as much about testing the water. (Another aside: live plants will drop the PH down to acidic levels regardless of a buffer. And if the water is really dirty, a buffer might not either.)

    A pretty helpful article on PH:

    More on PH:

    I have two tanks…a 15 gallon with an antisocial Nicaraguense (Latin American) cichlid, a couple danios and a plecostomus, and a 30 gallon with five African cichlids and a raphael catfish. One of the African cichlids got its tail bitten off so the tank now has a divider in it. It’s annoying, but they’re pretty fish when they aren’t eating each other.

    And the real question is why doesn’t the Inadvertent Gardener test her soil PH?

    (That’s right, I’m calling her out.)


  7. 7 steve April 19, 2007 at 9:23 am

    I just saw this:

    “if that doesn’t shut up a boy faster than anything, i don’t know what will.”

    Sigh, an Internet beating.

    In my own defense, I now contribute to the frozen garbage (aquarium plants that were messing with the water PH…everything comes back to fish).

    P.S. How long will Greg Oden keep us waiting?

  8. 8 inadvertentgardener April 19, 2007 at 9:28 am

    Steve, since you are the pH expert, it seems like it would be easy enough for you to take care of the soil testing. Right? Right?

    Greg Oden, however, will keep us waiting at least as long as I plan to keep waiting to test my soil. See how I bring it back around?


    And yes, folks, he has been contributing to the frozen garbage. Our compost pile will contain fishy plants. But fat-free, dairy-free, oil-free, meat-free, fish-free plants, to be sure.

  9. 9 bright strangely April 19, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    oh ’twas hardly a beating. i just know that my spouse has been all interested in the compost now that it appears to be doing something. we got our first worm last week!

    i apologize for the drive-by… i’m sure you’re an excellent and contrite garbage saver ;)

  10. 10 jenjen April 20, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    freezing trash. Made me LOL. Because I too have done this.

  11. 11 inadvertentgardener April 20, 2007 at 6:26 pm

    Bright strangely — You crack me up. :-)

    Jenjen–I’m glad it made you laugh…and that I’m not the only one!

  12. 12 Shannon April 21, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    We are getting such rich, beautiful compost now. Believe me, it is all worth it. Ours is a dark, dark brown, filled with fat, happy worms. We were turning over the pile today and noticed quite a few sprouts plus some fairly tall potato plants. Why plant a garden?

  13. 13 inadvertentgardener April 22, 2007 at 10:06 am

    Shannon, I’ve heard of a lot of people who end up with seedlings out of their compost pile — I find that a little bit amusing and a lot amazing. Are you going to do any transplanting?

  14. 14 Shannon April 25, 2007 at 8:47 am

    I hadn’t thought about it, but it would make for an interesting experiment. We did throw a sprouting onion in the corner of the herb garden last year and this year we have a lot of baby onions coming up. Plants find a way, don’t they?

  15. 15 inadvertentgardener April 26, 2007 at 7:13 pm

    Shannon, are you eating the onions this year? That sounds like a pretty delicious accident to me. I love spring onions.

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