Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Dan's DIY: Compost Bin

Dan's first major project for our new home was to make a compost pile! 

The previous owners of this large yard never had a garden, but we are definitely looking forward to having one next summer. In preparation for that, we decided to start composting. 

Side note: This past winter, Dan purchased and read this book - a book with all the info you need about composting (bonus: it's written by an engineer... a tidbit that Dan, who has an engineering degree, appreciated, ha!). 

Anyways, this is one of the quickest and easiest compost "bins" that you could ever make. There are some flaws in the design, which I will touch on as we go along, but in reality, this structure is working just fine for us for now. 

Materials needed: a few stakes, chicken wire fencing, wire (either some you have on hand or sometimes the chicken fencing comes with wire when you buy it), and some general tools

How to: pound the stakes into the ground... place the fencing around the stakes... wire the fencing to the stakes... and wire the ends of the fencing together.

Not the most detailed of instructions, but you get the picture ;)

The flaws: we don't have hardly any shade in our yard, and you want to keep compost piles damp. We put some old burlap over our compost pile in order to keep the sun from sucking up all the moisture. However, the fencing is not very strong, so it has crumbled a bit already. This however, does help us reach the bottom of the pile when we are turning it with a potato fork (turning the compost is also a big part of creating good compost).

The positives: Evelyn loves the wagon rides we take to drop off the scraps bowl every few days. We put any type of kitchen scraps into our compost pile. It is common for gardeners to be a little selective of the types of food they allow in their compost - such as no meat - but as long as the compost pile stays moist and gets turned, the inner temperature of your compost pile is hot enough to decompose just about any type of food or vegetation... so that's what we're going for!

I know some worry about critters digging in their compost piles in search of good eats. Others worry about the smell. For these reasons, we put our pile in the very far corner of our yard - as far away from our neighbors as possible (if you remember, we don't have neighbors to the west or the north).

We'll, of course, let you know how our first summer of composting goes and if it will be ready to be tilled into our new garden this fall! Cross your fingers that it's ready in time :)

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