Wednesday, June 22, 2011

When one man's trash is the same man's treasure!

I never intended on writing a blog post on our compost bin. In fact when we first started our compost bin I knew it would work, but I didn't realize how quickly and effectively it would work. I was really exciting to turn my own trash into treasure, well... okay soil, but free soil! The pictures above are of my soil I made from our compost bin. It literally only took 15 days to get it! Now that I have the compost bin, I can't believe I have been paying the city to dispose this 'trash'!
There are all sorts of compost bins out there in different shapes and sizes. Really if you have the land you can find a spot far away from your house and just dig a hole in the ground and put the compost in. But the urbanites like myself probably want to get some sort of bin to contain the contents. I find that the flea flies in my back yard are very attracted to the bin and stay in there instead of flying around my yard. So its a win/win for both myself and the insects.
So what goes into a compost bin you ask. There are a few simple steps to having a successful compost bin. First you want to line the bottom with some sort of dry coarse materials such as twigs, hay, straw or even dry leaves. This I have found helps my compost vent and gets the air in. Next you want to add a combo of brown and green materials. Brown materials are cardboard paper napkins dried leaves and such. Green materials are any sort of materials that were recently growing such as grass clippings, dried banana peels etc. Although if you are going to add weeds and plants make sure they are dried out first so they don't go to seed in your bin. Also a word of warning don't add meat or animal products or your bin because they will stink to high heaven. Finally bugs like earthworms and such help to breakdown your trash into soil. I never really had a liking for bugs until I had my compost bin. I used to dig into the dirt and freak out when I saw earthworms and bugs. Now you see me sreaking with delight and running the earthworms over to my compost bin. My neighbors probably think I'm out of my mind. But thats ok with me!
Suprisingly our bin really does not smell. After I add contents into our bin each week we add a layer of dirt to keep the smell down this also keep the bugs at bay. The dirt will also provide the necessary bacteria that your bin needs to help accelerate the brake down of materials.
To maintain your bin you want to keep the contents moist but not to wet. You want it to be moist like a wrung out sponge. After we add our scraps and dirt I take a garden hose to it to make sure it has an adequate amount of moisture.
Marion Owen has a really nice list of items you can compost on her website page 163 things you can compost . Any type of organic matter banana peels, apple scraps, cooked veggies, freezer burnt veggies and fruit, Newspapers, brown paper bags, even lint trap scraps and dust bunnies! So you get the idea.

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