A new compost jar.

One of the great things about being a potter is to be able to make a pot to fulfill a need that I have at home. I can make something that is ‘just right’ instead of ‘good enough’ for the job.

We were in need of a compost jar. I had many parameters in mind when designing it. You might think that it just looks like a regular old jar, but it is oh so much more…

We have these great compost bags that needed to fit the jar but have a bit of an overhang so they can get tied off. There is a groove cut into the jar about a half inch from the lip of the pot so a rubber band can be used to hold the bag in place. The hefty lid is super snug and also acts as a compactor.

You might remember that we live in the middle of Chicago and you probably don’t think about Chicago and composting going very well together. (Actually, you probably don’t think about Chicago and compost at all…) Well, here’s how we do it… We’re friends with our next door neighbors (neighbor Eric is a potter and we work at Lillstreet together.) and they have a great yard and a compost bin on the other side of our scrappy fence. So we just reach over the fence and dump our compost in their bin (the bags make this especially easy). It’s all very quaint and neighborly. We chat over the fence, share homegrown veggies and compare grilling tips.

Here’s Ian dumping the compost tonight:

It might sound a bit silly, but this is another one of those things that makes me happy to live where I live. When we moved to Chicago 9 years ago, I didn’t think that my city life would have much in common with my life growing up in New Hampshire. But it does. We grow vegetables and herbs (on a porch instead of in a garden), go to the farmer’s market, we compost our food scraps and have truly great neighbors.

7 thoughts on “A new compost jar.

  1. What a great idea – love your compost jar. I have so much to take care of here especially during the hot summer months – watering, weeding, harvesting etc etc, I sometimes wish I had a postage size garden and a compost pile that would fit in a jar.

  2. Your compost jar is brilliant and fantastic!

    I have an ugly black plastic mini compost bin that fits under my sink – looks just like my big black plastic compost bin outside. But, with one like this, it’s beautiful and worthy of sitting on the counter.

    re: your other posts, I do like living in the city too, but have always romanticize the life of a country potter. Love the buddha shrine – very cool.

  3. Linda, As much as I long for a yard to plant a giant garden, in reality, my container gardening is really what I have time for. I just ate my first green beans of the summer and cherry tomatoes are going to be ready to harvest soon!

  4. I like the idea of those compost liner bags. I’ve been looking for some for quite some while now.
    Funny because when I used to live in Canada, I used to be a regular Lee Valley customer. I hadn’t even thought of checking with them. Thanks!

  5. I was tickled when I saw the title to this post on GoogleReader. A few months ago I decided that I was going to make us a compost jar. It was really the first time that I pictured something in my head that I needed, made it and it turned out exactly how I wanted it to. Such a great feeling! And the fact that it incorporated lids and handles made it all the more satisfying! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Hi Emily, I Stumbled across your blog tonight, through Start up Biz, and have to say I’m so glad I did, I love your compost jar. Do you have any issues with fruit flies when you open the jar?. I’m curious because it seems no matter what vessel I use these little guys keep flying around. Oh, and I wonder if you could tell me, where you got the compost liner bags? I assume they are Earth friendly? Great post, I’ll be following your blog from now on.


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