It is spring time! That means I get to start up my gardening series again. Last year we covered starting seeds indoors, garden planning and crop rotation, weed control, gardening tools & supplies, and seeds saving. Today we are going to cover a new topic….COMPOST!
First up, let’s chat about types of compost bins…
I have not composted on a large scale before and I am excited to do it this year. I have been researching it for years but just haven’t bit the bullet and started. My main reason for stalling is that our yard has been one wide open space and I wasn’t sure where to put it so that it wasn’t a huge eye sore.
This compost pile would blend right in! It is made from willow branches and is a great natural looking compost bin. The gaps would allow in oxygen which good compost needs. My fear is that it would not hold up long term especially when using a pitchfork to turn it. I do however have a bunch of willow branches so even if I don’t make a compost bin, I may make something similar for a fence or planter. I have one son in particular who would love to help!
This would be a fun DIY project. I could easily build a simple one like this. My worry is similar in the sense that I am not sure how long wood will last. I worry the compost would speed up the decay of the wood. For those of you with wood compost bins, has this been an issue? How long have you had your wood compost bin?
This next example is more expensive but I feel it would be easier to use and it would hold up longer. It isn’t exactly pretty, but we are building a short fence towards the back of our yard and whatever compost bin we end up choosing, would hide behind the fence. I like the idea of it being on a stand because you can just park your wheelbarrow next to it and dump!
Since the fence it will be hiding behind will be short (3 feet or maybe 4), I was thinking I might do this one since it is lower, but it does look harder to rotate and getting it from the bin to the wheelbarrow would be tougher. On the plus side, it holds a bit more.
I have also consider making some out of plastic totes or plastic garbage cans. Those that have done that have told me that stirring them is a pain. That has held me off on doing that DIY version. I would love to hear your thoughts though if you have done it this way!
The reasons I am leaning towards a closed bin are:
*Closed bins keep critters and flies away
*Closed bins smell less and are better for residential areas
*Closed bins compost faster due to the higher temps
*Closed bins can be used year round
Since I am new to this, I would love to hear your thoughts on this!
I decided that I was going to print out a list of what to compost and put it in the kitchen so my kids would know what to add to the bin. As I was typing it out, I decided to make it cute and offer it to you as a free printable in case you wanted to stick it inside a kitchen cabinet door or on your fridge.
Of the things you compost, some are carbon based and some are nitrogen based. To have a healthy compost, you need more carbon than nitrogen. Things that have carbon are tree trimmings (branches), dried leaves, paper, sawdust, corn stalks, egg shells, wood ash. Examples of things that are nitrogen based are manures, green things, vegetable and fruit scraps. If your compost is soggy, it needs more carbon. If it starts to really stink, add more carbon.
Remember to not add meat, bones, or grease to the pile.
Be careful when composting weeds and hay. Make sure they have not gone to seed or you run the risk of them spreading when you add the compost to your garden. If your compost gets hot enough, it will not be an issue but if you are worried about this, don’t compost weeds to be on the safe side.
Only add wood ash. Ash from charcoal or coal have things that are toxic to plants in them.
Only add manure from herbivores. Never add dog or cat droppings.
For those of you who have been doing this for awhile, I would love to hear your experiences! Are there any tips or tricks you can share with us?