Thursday, June 10, 2010

~ Composting on the Cheap ~

I would like to add one more idea for composting (part two of Composting 101) for those who don't have a lot of cash to spend on a composter, are not handy with wood and big power tools, and/or don't have the space. A plastic storage bin composter!
  1. Go to your local discount/home improvement store and ask if they have any large bins that have cracks or defects that they are going to throw away. Make sure it has a lid. You want something that is at least 32 gallon size so that your compost will heat up and break down.
  2. Take a drill and drill lots of holes all over the bin, sides and bottom. It doesn't matter what size holes, you just want to have good air flow. Space them about 2" apart. If you would like worms to get in on the action, cut the bottom completely out of your bin. The worms will help break down your scraps faster and will leave castings (poop) that your garden and plants will love.
  3. Find out were you would like to put it. Do you have enough room to place it by the back door so that it is convenient to dump your kitchen scraps in? Or do you want it near you plants and garden? If you don't cut the bottom out, there is always the possibility of moving it later.
  4. Following the 1/3 green to 2/3 brown and kitchen scraps to fill your bin. You don't want it so be soggy. If it looks too wet or is starting to smell, add a handful of leaves or shredded newspaper to absorb some of the moisture. On the flip side, you don't want it to get to dry. Either add some water or if you have moisture rich fruits or veggies that are past their prime, add those. Remember: the smaller you cut/crush your kitchen scraps the faster they are going to break down.
  5. You will want to give your bin a shake or turn the contents with a garden fork about every other day or when you add your kitchen scraps. This will help with the breakdown process. When you want to harvest your compost, run it through a sifter, which can simply be a piece of 1/2" hardware cloth. The usable compost will fall through the holes and the larger chunks can go back into the bin for further breakdown. Put the usable compost in a different container to be used later.
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  1. The hubs used to compost at the old house but we weren't able to take it with us, this would be a great idea until he gets another one for the new backyard! Thanks

  2. Thanks so much! We happen to have a 32 gallon garbage can that we do not need but had not gotten rid of. Went to hardware store and got the hardware cloth. Going to cut out bottom and put hardware cloth on and make stand so that the good stuff can fall through as ready into a bin. Will let you know how it goes. Thanks for your time to create this post.

  3. Interesting concept. Compact and tidy. Since I'm city bound without so much as a balcony, let alone a garden space, I keep hoping for a micro-composter that will fit in our over-crowded apartment!

  4. Kathryn Grace, you might want to try one of these.

  5. Great idea, I think we will be doing something similar this year as we rent right now and do not want to invest too much.

  6. We started composting a few years ago with just an old plastic garbage can with holes in it. Still use it as a second composter when the main one is resting. Works great, good info!


  7. This is really a great idea! I've got a container I can use. I may do this today. Thanks!