Friday, October 25, 2013

Compost Bin Upgrade: Next Summer's Brown Gold

A few weeks ago, I added a new compost bin: an attempt to gather the garden's trimmings and fall's leaves and make some use from them.

I was startled by how quickly it filled up. And stuff was falling out from the open front.

We needed to think this through better. This was not going to work. 

So I doubled its size, and added a gate: a few more (free) pallets, a handful of screws to hold it together (seriously: only eight or ten), and a makeshift hings (which I'll describe later). 

We've decided to process the goods coming into this bin: ideally we'd use a chipper, but we don't have a chipper.

So we use a lawnmower. We mow up the greens we've pulled out of the garden (and our neighbor contributes), and we use the mower to vacuum up leaves: ours and others off of sidewalks in the neighborhood.

I've developed this practice: every time I add a mower bag full of greens (high nitrogen) or browns (high carbon), I also add two or three shovels full of  horse manure, so that it composts together.

The gap has two purposes. The strategic purpose is so that we can walk in and carry an armful of leaves or garden trimmings without needing to stop and open the gate.

The real reason is that I made this out of pallets; this is the size of pallet I had.

I also added a board across the bottom: holding in some of the leaves.

This is how the gate is working: heavy duty eye screws with a piece of 3/8" rebar. The (scrap) rebar is pounded about 18" into the ground: it also stabilizes the wall that the hinge is on. It's working very well, and it was inexpensive and simple.

All together, this bin has cost maybe $3.50 and less than an hour's work to build. (It will take considerably more than an hour to fill and turn regularly!)

It's not beautiful, but beautiful would have cost $50 or more, and taken quite a lot longer. Maybe later.

Finally, every time

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