Compost Bins for the Garden


| 10/13/2009 11:24:25 AM


A photo of Vickie MorganComposting is one the best things you can do for your garden and the environment. All those kitchen scraps and leaves are no longer going in to the trash but will now decompose to form in to a nice rich soil and you get to add that to your garden. One complete cycle.

As to what to put in a compost bin, I never thought beyond kitchen waste until our dryer needed work and we found it was completely stopped up with lint (I usually hang clothes on the line, but the dryer does come in handy). After researching, I found you can compost dryer lint. I would have never thought of composting lint or say your vacuum cleaner bag contents. These are just a couple of the 163 things that are listed on Marion Owen's list of "163 Things You Can Compost." Some of which I just don't want to think about but others I'll try to remember.

I have two compost bins now: one of which I have been adding to and the other I'm leaving alone to make compost. There are different ways to compost, in a bin like mine – it is the easiest – you never have to turn it, but it takes from 6 months to 2 years to make compost. Then there are the turning bins which take about 3 to 6 months to make compost. Last but not least, you could just make a pile of compost. It's not as neat, but it's not as expensive.

With the amount of vegetable peelings, grapes, weeds that don't have seeds, newspaper and everything else I've been throwing in the compost this summer, I've managed to fill the two bins I have to the top. So, to make more room, I opened up the bottom of one of the bins that had been composting since last spring and was able to get almost a bushel full of rich, dark compost. Well, actually that little door at the bottom of the bin is just not big enough, so I just pushed the whole thing over, much easier.

Compost bin turned on its side.



After taking out the compost it gave me more room to continue adding grapes, tomato peelings, etc.

vickie
10/19/2009 12:55:40 PM

Shannon, Composting I guess is one thing every one can do and feel good about. Yes, a mixture of the brown (being the carbon, leaves, newspaper and such) and the green (being the nitrogen, kitchen waste) is what makes the compost work. There are different recommendations for the mix everywhere but it is the brown that helps the compost cook. Too much green without the brown and it just becomes a mess. It's not really hard to do -remember too that depending on the compost system you have it could take up to a year. That's the kind I have- just a compost bin and I get compost approximately once a year in the spring. If you get the tumbler it is faster. I'm glad your composting, keep up the good work. I hope I have answered your questions.. vickie


S.M.R. Saia
10/19/2009 7:51:29 AM

Wow, composting really seems to be on everyone's minds! Thanks Vickie for this useful post. I'm starting to feel compost-impaired. I pretty much go about it like Nebraska Dave, just tossing in everything from the kitchen. What's the deal with the green/brown ratio? This sounds like a useful rule of thumb, but I only ever seem to find it alluded to, when it seems like it might be the very heart of the matter....


vickie
10/17/2009 9:53:21 PM

Dave, Sounds like you have too much green- You want to make sure there is enough "brown" to start it composting --you can use shredded newspapers if you don't have anything else even junk mail or cardboard! Also, things you probably never thought about -like the lint from our dryer or the stuff when you empty your vacuum cleaner. I have to watch myself when I compost too -I just forget and this summer as I was canning I kept throwing all that vegetable waste in there but then I caught myself and put in some newspapers. Once I got the hang of composting -it was fun to go back and get soil out of the compost bin. It makes me feel good also that all those scraps now are not going in the trash. I'm gonna try to compost this winter -if I don't get too cold! Maybe before you give up on the old pile, try covering it up with some brown and give it a little more time. vickie