Compost. Seems nasty, right? That’s what I thought. It will smell, draw bugs, entice 4-legged animals, be too much work, and on and on. Turns out, it’s super easy and will be amazing planting soil for our garden next year. You know, the gigantic one I am already mapping out on paper.
How easy is it to make a compost bin? So easy that the hardest part was walking across the street and digging up some dirt behind our neighbors house to add to the bin.
Step 1: Find an old plastic bin with a lid. These are pretty cheap at a big box store if you don’t already have an empty one shoved in a basement corner.
Step 2: Drill holes around the entire bin. The top, the sides, the bottom. The top holes allow for rainwater (and eventually snow!) to enter, the side holes allow for circulation, and the bottom holes allow for drainage. (You don’t want the pile to be too wet.)
Step 3: Start collecting! We put a bowl out by the sink that each day gets filled with compostable items and then dumped that night. Right now we are sticking to small pieces of paper and fruit and vegetable trimmings. Steer clear of anything with oil, meat or dairy. We’ve also added scraps from the yard. So far, we have random tomato pieces, peels for 4 limes and 4 lemons, strawberry pieces, avocado pits and skin, wilting mixed greens, some torn-up paper, and dirt.
Whenever you add something to the bin, be sure to also add water and shake it up or rock it back and forth to mix the included items up.
Step 4: Securely cover the bin and place outside where there is some sun. The heat will help breakdown the food more quickly. It will also dry it out more quickly, so be sure to add water every time you add more scraps and then mix the bin up. The drier the bin, the more likely you are to draw ants.
Step 5: Wait.
I cannot wait to see what this turns into. I have been reading about the carbon to nitrogen ratio to aim for, and am still getting my arms around that. Once the fall comes and our grass isn’t totally dead from this drought (maybe just a dream?) we will add grass clippings, leaves and wood chips (thanks to some friends). Once this bin is full (this is our guinea pig), we plan to use some larger trash cans. Perhaps someday when we have a mammoth backyard we will build a full compost bin, but this will satisfy my composting itch for now.
Who else composts? Any great tips or lessons learned?