Ideas for Starting Your Own Compost Bin

Ideas for Starting Your Own Compost Bin

by Danielle Baker, Traveling Worm Woman;
Fearless Weeder for PlanTea, Inc. and
Co-author of Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul
http://www.plantea.com/compost-materials.htm

• Keep a small covered food waste collection container in the house. Tupperware or a covered bucket works well. When the container is full of “green” food scraps (veggies, fruit scraps, egg shells, tea bags, coffee grounds), you can add it to your compost.
• When you add food scraps, cover with soil and leaves. This allows your pile to heat up and prevents odors.
• The more “greens” you add at once, the hotter your pile will get, killing weed seeds and pathogens.
• Try using about 3 times as much “brown” (carbon) materials like leaves, paper and sawdust, compared to “green” (nitrogen) materials. This will also help maintain the right amount of air in your bin.
• Water and air are also important ingredients in making compost. Keep your pile turned for air. Keep your pile moist, but never soggy (like a wrung out sponge).
• The smaller you chop the pieces of food (or if you put them in the freezer), the faster decomposition will be.
7 Flavors of Compost

Just a Pile
Pros:
• No cost
• Easy to start
• Low maintenance
Cons:
• Can take up to a year to decompose
• Can be odorous and attract animals and flies
Estimated price:
Free

Wire Bin:
Pros:
• Inexpensive
• Easy to make
• Neat appearance
• Holds heat easier than a pile
• Deters animals
• If turned, decomposition can be quit rapid
Cons:
• Takes time to make
Estimated price:
$10

Garbage Can Bin
Pros:
• Inexpensive
• Easy to make
• Can use year-round indoor or outdoorPreparedpantry com
• Can be done in small space
• Keeps out animals
Cons:
• Must keep in mind carbon/nitrogen ratio
• Lack of aeration can slow decomposition
Estimated price:
$10

The Original, Go Anywhere, Worm Bin
Pros:
• Easy
• Ideal for the Office-Classroom & at Home
• Can add to continuously
Cons:
• Requires some care when removing castings
• Can attract fruit flies
Estimated price:
$40

Natural Cedar Bin
Pros:
• Beauty of Wood
• If turned decomposition can be rapid (let your chickens turn it!)
• Holds heat easier than a pile
• Slates on one side can be removed for easy turning and access to compost
Cons:
• Expensive
Estimated price:
$100

Tumbler
Pros:
• Self-contained
• Not messy
• Relatively easy to aerate by turning tumbler
Cons:
• Expensive
• Volume is small
• Works best if material added at once
Estimated price:
$100-$150

Expandable Worm Tour
Pros:
• Efficient
• Easy harvest of worm castings
• Bin can consume 5-8 pounds of food a day
Cons:
• Expensive
Estimated price:
$100

Additional Information: Composting 101 (for serious composters)
Description of Materials and their Usefulness in Composting
UCANR Placer County Master Gardeners
http://pcmg.ucanr.org/files/120484.PDF
163 Things You Can Compost (interesting & fun)
And the list keeps growing!

Pizza Box or Egg Carton Gardening
Use FREE materials, such as a pizza box or egg carton, toilet paper roll or newspaper to start seedlings. Water Bottles can easily be turned into an irrigation tool by punching holes in the top of the lid and turning the water bottle over to act as a watering can. Toilet paper rolls can be made into shovels as well.
http://www.gardengirltv.com/, http://www.planetpals.com/recycle_crafts_gardening.html

For more information:

CSUC AS Chico Recycling Program #530-898-5033, www.aschico.org/recycle

Cal Recycle School Waste Reduction http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/reducewaste/schools/

 

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