23 October, 2010
This time of year, my gardening thoughts tend toward composting as seasonal clean-up commences and the pigs are in the freezer and no longer snacking on our kitchen scraps.
Last year, a compost bin was on the to-do list (and we did put them up in the spring). I still had all of the dead plants, leaves, and chicken bedding to dispose of and I just threw them on top of the garden in the hopes that it would all decompose over the winter instead of on top of the pile of junk that accumulated behind our pine tree line. In retrospect, I should have had it all turned into the dirt first and that’s what we’ll be doing with all of the mulching straw and hay we used to keep down weeds this year.
Everything else will go into the compost and I just don’t have the time to invest in a technical composting system. I found this video and it highlights a plan similar to one I intend to follow. From what I understand, adding too much woody material is one of the biggest mistakes you can make since it causes the pile to decompose at a much slower rate. This is why we switched back to straw coop bedding after using wood chips for the last year. The wood chips worked great, but we really want all of those droppings to feed our pile.
Our compost bins (we have 3 that we do a poor job at keeping in rotation), are comprised of extra hog panels that were cut to size and are 3-sided lined up together.
They open up into the garden and this year the tomatoes sat in front of them and when I pulled them out of the ground this week, the roots were over 5 feet long and all headed straight towards the piles! I usually have to break off the roots they’re so stuck in the ground!
Many don’t have the freedom to compost openly as we do and a containment system is required to keep the composting materials from permeating the air. If that were the case for us, I would love a bin that wouldn’t require the back breaking work of turning the piles, but is somewhat low profile and inconspicuous.
Composting Bin & Rain Barrel I thought this was an interesting concept for an urban compost bin. It is a compost bin on top and rain barrel on the bottom. Compost works best when kept wet and this system collects the rain water, adds moisture to the compost, and collects it in the rain barrel beneath creating a fertigation tea to fertilize the garden with! How clever is that??We would need several of those to keep up with our needs around here right now, but it sure does look nicer than the system we’re using. To collect the scraps, we’re just running them out in a bowl a couple times a day since leaving them sit for just one trip is too attractive to the fruit flies plaguing us right now. Once they’re gone and the weather cools, I imagine no one is going to want to take them to the garden! (I know I don’t!) We have a one gallon plastic bucket that we use when the fruit flies aren’t so prevalent, but the lid isn’t secure and the little ones aren’t as fastidious as one would like them to be. It can get messy. I’d love to buy a counter top canister that would look more attractive than an old pail from the local bakery. Like this one that would have gone so nicely with the Cooper Pearl Kitchen Aid mixer that I don’t have:
Copper Finish Compost Pail
Or this one that would go so nicely with the boring Nickel Pearl that I do:
Or this one for when the boldness of the first two worry me, and I opt for simplicity instead:
Raise your hand if you compost? Do you have any tips to share for a composting dummy like me?