How to move your solar cone

imageIf you read my original post about solar cones AKA green cones AKA food digesters, then you know that these things are a great way to eliminate your non-compostable green waste. In Maple Ridge where our taxes don’t fund the garbage hauling industry, solar cones can save you hundreds of dollars per year.

If you didn’t run out and buy one after reading the above-mentioned post, I’m guessing it may have been the gross-out factor that made you hesitate. The idea of letting your food sit and be digested in a receptacle near your house is icky. I get it.

Well, today I’m going to gross you out even more.

First, however, I have to say that, to me, keeping your food waste hanging around your house for as long as a week (or two?) while waiting for a company to come and take it away seems more disgusting (and smelly) than dropping it in a solar cone as soon as you clear the table. See what I mean?

Anyway, here it is. The worst thing you may ever have to do with your solar cone.

Move it.

In my previous post I described how a solar cone can fill up if you’re not paying attention and that my solution initially was to empty it and how I learned that a better solution is to add Rot-it and be patient. I didn’t have photos of what moving a solar cone looks like back then.

Now I do.

Need some concrete fill? Too bad!
A narrow squeeze for a big truck

We are clearing a path for some very big trucks to enter our yard and dig us a new foundation. Unfortunately our solar cone is in the way. There is nothing for it, it had to move.

Step 1: dig about two-thirds around the cone until it comes loose. Do not breathe deeply, it stinks.

Step 2a: if you wish to increase your solar cone’s capacity (and you are not actively puking from the smell) tip it on its side and shake the contents into the now-empty hole.

Step 2b: remember that this whole step 2 business is optional.

Even the cone itself looks like it is puking!
Even the cone itself looks like it is puking!

Step 2c: notwithstanding step 2b, notice that the contents are clogging the hole and require some help to exit the cone. Find a hand trowel or fork. Get in there and muck it out, soldier!

Step 2d: fill in the hole and make sure the contents of the solar cone are good and buried (they shouldn’t attract animals anyway since they have decomposed or are decomposing but it’s better to be safe)

Step 3: whether or not you skipped step 2, admire your solar cone at its full glory.

Step 4: find suitable spot with good drainage and lots of sun and dig another hole.

In the hole you can see the old sewer pipe from the yellow house
In the hole you can see the old sewer pipe from the yellow house

Step 5a: put the solar cone in the hole and check that the lip is just below ground level.

Step 5b: if you skipped step 2, note how much easier step 5 would be if you had just powered through your revulsion and emptied the thing

Step 5c: if you did not skip step 2, give yourself a pat on the back for fighting through the gross-out factor, noting how much lighter and less disgusting handling the cone is because of your earlier sacrifice

Step 6: dig a little deeper to add a little room for gravel under the cone to improve drainage (optional depending on your soil)image

Step 7: add a little compost to the hole to introduce microbes and kick-start the digestion process

Step 8: insert the cone, check its height and fill in the hole.

Have you ever seen anything more beautiful?
Have you ever seen anything more beautiful?

There it is. If you made it through this post, you can make it through anything a food digester can throw at you.

The moral of this story is: choose a spot for your solar cone carefully so you will never have to move it!

Published by

James Rowley

James lives in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada with his amazing partner, Leanne Koehn, and their two amazing kids in their beautiful house. He studied Science and English Literature at the University of British Columbia where he met Leanne. He also studied acting for a while at Studio 58 in Vancouver. He works as a teacher of English and curriculum writer for new Canadians.

2 thoughts on “How to move your solar cone”

  1. Did you have any troubles with the soil level decreasing for your solar cone? I had to create a raised bed but it seems like after a heavy rain (or normal usage?), the soil is seeping into the basket so I’m just getting a basket full of food scraps and soil.

    1. Thanks Maia! No I haven’t noticed the issue you describe. I’m guessing the soil in our yard is different from yours.

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