Since Vic and I acquired our three hens, our composting operation has changed. More of our kitchen scraps go the chickens, who love vegetable and fruit peelings, than go into the composter. Instead of vegetable peels, we now put straw bedding and chicken poop into the composter. As the ratio of brown to green waste changed, our composter didn't heat up enough for rapid decomposition.
Luckily, Huntington Beach gardener John Manning had a solution for us — beer. He picks up spent brewers grain from the Huntington Beach Beer Company at 201 Main St. and swears by its positive effect on his compost piles. I stopped by his house last week and was awed by the quality of the compost that he produces.
Manning sends out a weekly email notice about when the spent brewers grain is going to be available next. But before getting onto his list, I wanted to try some of this grain myself. I went downtown Saturday and got more than I bargained for. Besides grain, I also got a fascinating lesson from brew-masters Greg and Barbara Gerovac about how to make beer. Greg's great-grandfather, and Vic's as well, were both Wisconsin brew-masters, but I knew nothing about how beer is made.