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Thanksgiving Leftovers: 2 Easy Food Recycling Tricks

Thanksgiving Leftovers: 2 Easy Food Recycling Tricks

It’s a tradition on our national day of thanks to provide a bountiful table, laden with rich dishes you only trot out during the holidays. Some of these dishes, frankly, you’re glad to see only once a year. Yes, Grandma, I’m talking about your signature jello salad, made with miracle whip, cottage cheese and what once might have been cherries. And don’t get me started on the slimy green bean casserole, and the yams covered in marshallow goo. Before you think me unappreciative, I’ll say that Grandma’s turkey, stuffing and gravy are genius and worthy of thanks.

Jello Casserole

Jello Casserole: A Perennial Thanksgiving “Favorite”

So, how do you deal with those Thanksgiving leftovers and those awful side dishes that barely get touched? They don’t have to end up in the trash – food is a resource and there are a couple quick and easy ways you can capture its value to use in your yard and garden. Some of my friends call it “lazy composting.” Whatever you call it, it works fast and avoids the environmental damage of sending food to the landfill.

Trick 1: Shred & Bury

Sounds simple, and it is. Just pick a spot in your yard and dig a shallow hole or trench. Ideally, locate the hole near a perennial bed, or even better, pick a spot where you plan to plant a tree or other large plant come spring. Put a generous layer of food scraps in the bottom of the hole and cover it with straw, leaves, or shredded newspaper. You are creating a mini compost pile that will turn quickly into rich nutrients to keep your plants healthy.

If this sounds ridiculously simple, then you’re right!

Shredding your food scraps will accelerate the composting process by 10 times or more. You can shred scraps by hand, which takes a little elbow grease, or you can use your Green Cycler for fast and easy results.

The beauty of the shred & bury trick is that you’re getting all the benefits of compost where and when you want it, without having to commit to managing a compost pile year-round.

Trick 2: Bag & Leave

If you’re too tired after all that turkey (or tofurkey) to THINK about digging a hole, just put the food scraps in a large garbage bag along with a generous amount of leaves. Moisten the leaves, seal the bag and then cut a few slits in the bag for airflow. Tuck it away somewhere in your yard and leave it. If you locate the bag where it will get a lot of sunlight, your bag will heat up and your compost will be ready faster. And as mentioned above, if you shred the food scraps beforehand, the process will speed up dramatically by giving beneficial bacteria more surface area to work on.

Say “Thanks” to Mother Earth by recycling your leftovers.

Come spring, the leaves + the food scraps will begin to ready to spread as mulch on your yard or garden. They will be full of leaf mold, a beneficial soil amendment that improves soil texture and increases water retention.

If this sounds ridiculously simple, then you’re right! But by using these tricks, you can make yourself a valuable, garden-enriching product, and you can say “Thanks” to Mother Earth by recycling rather than wasting her bounty.

And Grandma, if you’re reading this, I know I’m in big trouble. I’ll be making my way back to the kids’ table now….


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