October 29, 2006

My little compost bin

I'm not too handy, which is why my homemade "city" compost bin has some very ugly looking holes in the top. I can't believe this is really going to work but, its worth a shot. I didn't really think that sticking tiny specks into the ground would result in the carrots and beans and lettuce that I've grown from them either though and things decomposing seems much more logical.

I followed the instructions I had pretty closely but, I am still not sure I got the right type and quantity of "greens." Here's what I did:

1) I cut holes in the top of the lid of my big plastic tub. The knife was crappy and kept folding a little so its a miracle that I didn't get a bad cut. This part took about 45 minutes if you can believe it.

2) I cut 8 slits (2 in each corner) in the bottom of the tub for drainage.

3) I filled the tub with 1 ripped up egg carton, a few inches of newspaper that I ripped into strips and 1 and 1/2 shopping bags of my out-of-state dried leaves. Once it was about 3/4 full I added some weeds and other fresh plant material from the garden (mostly kale that had too many dead aphids to be appetizing and weeds) plus some eggshells and an apple core and some tea leaves.

4) I watered the whole thing until the top layer seemed pretty wet.

I think I'll add more "browns" and "greens" in a few days since after all the water went in everything shrunk down a bit and the bin is not yet completely full. Plus, I still need to go leaf hunting so I'll have a good supply of dried leaves through the winter.

I know I'll never be able to just throw my kitchen waste into the compost bin like some people do simply because I won't have the room but, its still exciting to try this.

I probably have enough space for one more bin on the back porch if I really wanted it so, we'll see how this goes and play it by ear.


Jenifer said...

I'm very excited to hear more about this and will make sure to check it out when we see you in a few weeks!

Xris said...

You'll also want to add some "starter": Something which has some good microbe thingies to juice up your 'post.

You can order such things commercially, but you'd get way more than you need and it's not really worth it. Some good healthy dirt will do. Or a cup of another gardener's compost.

Colleen said...

This is a great idea! I look forward to seeing how it's working for you. The things we do for some compost....

Carol said...

You are going to be so surprised and happy when all that turns into rich compost. Xris is right, add a cup of good soil or a cup of someone else's compost as a "starter".

Black Eyed Susan said...

thanks! I'll add a cup of soil this week!

Anonymous said...

It will happen, just keep adding stuff to it, layering green and brown. A good pile is 3 X 3 X 3 ft. to work really well. Adding soil is good, but if you have a friend with a compost pile, a big old scoop of their compost will get it going. When it starts "cooking", the earthy smell is wonderful! Let us know how it goes.

just_a_visitor said...

Making the bin:
Use a power drill with the biggest drill bit you can find; be careful, the drill will go through the plastic very suddenly. Put some holes in the sides, too, for ventilation.

And, just a personal preference, I think green or beige bins look better outside.

Don't forget coffee grounds and washed egg-shells.

steven wilson said...

I like the idea of the plastic bin for compost.One could put it in those little unused nooks outside.

Steven Wilson

Lucy Reed said...

So, here it is almost a year later....please tell us how this worked. I'm eager to create a similar bin with my 5-year-old daughter and would prefer to make a bin with her than buy one.

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