Friday, April 9, 2010

compost bin

Spring is here and now is a good time to start a compost bin to throw all your goodies in - and compost goodies you'll have. You'll be amazed how quickly the bin will fill just from spring cleanup. Composting is s.i.m.p.l.e! I'm a 'shortcut' kind of gal...anything that is simpler, costs less and is easier, is what I do! You do not, I repeat...DO NOT need special bins that cost lots of money to produce Black Gold, or  things that need to 'turn, agitate and water' - all you really need is time...and time will do the work. Just be sure to keep it close by as you don't want to walk a mile to get to it! :) Sounds simple enough, doesn't it?

Let's roll, people! :)

Mine is as simple as can get other than piling it on the ground...

These are recycled concrete blocks (free!) with holes in it to allow important airflow, stacked on top of each other. Mine is a 5x10 ft bin and four blocks high against the brick of the house. It's on the north side of the house - the south side would be better but doesn't really matter. Size doesn't matter, either - that's a choice according to need. I left the front lower so I could hop and dump in it as needed. Two years ago I got wise smart and laid two wooden pallets (free!) on the bottom of the bin. It's not a must but the compost gets soggy and mooshy so the pallets act like a drain. The wood does rot but pallets can be picked up (free!) beside the road or at business places. See what I mean by cheap?!

 What to put in it and what NOT to put in it...

If you'd see mine now this is what it looks like. I give the eggshells a squeeze before I throw 'em in as it takes a while for them to break down. The winter does a good job of freezing the grapefruit shells, however, if you want a quick breakdown, they can be cut up or blended in the blender...w-a-a-ay too much work for this gal - just chuck 'em on the pile and let nature do the work! :) Throw in the grass edgings along with the earthworms, which, by the way, is the BEST 'turner and agitater' you'll ever need to make Black Gold! Simply throw the stuff in and occasionally layer grass clippings over everything...I do this when I want it to look 'nice,' such as company coming or garden tours. Anything that is not cooked or food related can be put in the bin.

It takes one year for it to break down to get this...

Kind of hard to believe but true! half inch of this lovely stuff will do more for you plants than any other conventional poisons stuff that is bought at any store. Put it around roses, in your hanging pots, on your flower beds, fill the holes with this stuff when tomatoes are's your stuff to do what you want and it's FREE! :)

I empty one half at a time, scraping the stuff that isn't broken down, aside and using the good stuff; when that's used up, I again scrape the unbroken stuff aside and finish the job. After all the good stuff is out, I spread all the unbroken stuff over the bottom and start over again for the next year.

Do NOT put in:
- cooked food
- bones
- peach pits and tomatoes
 (trust me on this-the pits live forever
and you'll have tomato plants in places you don't want!)
- weeds with seeds

What you CAN put in:
- kitchen garbage
- chopped up leaves
- grass cuttings
- grass edgings
- any kind of flower/plant debris

The compost bin is right outside our bedroom window and the first summer we lived here, after I was in bed (hubs was out of town) I heard squeaky noises. Looking out the window, I saw three - THREE! - skunks in the bin, happily feeding off of the stuff that was there. Thankfully, there was nothing there to bring 'em back!

...happy gardening! 



Enjoying the Scenery said...

So excited that you started this blog! I can use all the gardening tips I can get. We're planning on starting a compost bin this year too. We gathered suppiles as we found them last year and this winter. Looking forward to putting it together!

Anonymous said...

This is so interesting! I've been interested in composting for a few years now and never quite knew how to go about it. Last fall I started a pile in the corner of our garden and its not quite broken down but we had to spread it so I could plant. I will try your method this year! Marian

Rose said...

I LOVE your idea of a blog for your gardening tips! I read this about the compost pile, and believe it or not, unknown to me we had these blocks on our property from our old barn. I immediately started a new pile beside our new spot for a garden. I had another compost pile going for the past two years, but not nearly as efficient. Thanks for the tips!

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