Posts tagged "compost"

April 4, 2012

Compost Facts

So, now that I have made my compost bin, I needed to do some research to know exactly how to use it.  These were some of my questions and the answers I found:

What is compost?

Compost is organic matter that has been decomposed

What is in compost?

Compost is made of four things:

  1. Brown materials (carbon): are needed for energy and produces heat.
  2. Green materials (nitrogen): are a source for compost microbes, helping to speed up the process of decomposition.
  3. Oxygen: for oxidizing the carbon, the decomposition process. (Don’t squish materials that you add to your compost, this will makes less room for the air that is needed.)
  4. Water: in the right amounts to maintain activity without causing anaerobic conditions. (The compost should always be damp, like a wrung out sponge.)
What can be composted?
  • Brown Materials (carbon)
    • cardboard
    • newspaper
    • paper
    • cardboard tubes
    • dryer lint
    • paper egg cartons
    • pine needles and pine cones
  • Green Materials (nitrogen)
    • grass clippings
    • weeds and plants
    • yard clippings
    • leaves
    • vegetable and fruit scraps
    • tea bags and tea leaves
    • coffee grounds
  • Other materials that can be composted:
    • egg shells
    • old herbs and spices
    • stale cereal
    • stale bread
    • cotton
    • wool
When is compost done?

Finished compost will look like soil. You should no longer be able to recognize what you have put into your bin.

How to use compost?

You can use compost in gardens, in containers, and in starting seeds.

 

Research was done here, here, here, and here.

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April 4, 2012

DIY Compost Bin

Total Time Required: 30 minutes
Project Difficulty: easy
Materials: plastic storage bin (mine is 18 gallons)
Tools: drill & drill bit  (size of drill bit is up to you, mine was pretty small)

 

One of my goals this year is to garden, and one part of that for me was to start composting.  I want to compost for a few reasons.

  • I can use things I have around the house that I would normally throw away to make great fertilizer for my garden, saving me the money I would spend on fertilizer.
  • I won’t feel as guilty when fruits and veggies go bad.  I may not be using them to eat, but they won’t go to waste, and neither will the money I spent on that produce.
  • I can keep everything I put in the compost bin out of the landfill.

I’ve had an empty 18 gallon storage bin waiting to become a compost bin for a while now and I am so happy it is finally done!  I found my inspiration here.  I chose to use a bin and not something larger or more permanent because I didn’t want to spend any money on it this year.  I also thought it would be more manageable for a beginner composter and gardener.  I also needed my compost to be enclosed and not just a pile because we have raccoons/deer/bunnies that come into our yard as well as a groundhog that lives under our garage.  They would love to get into a pile and eat all of our compost.

Here is how I made my bin:

1. I took my bin outside because I knew it would be a little messy.

2. I picked a drill bit and started drilling.  For the drill bit I used the first one I grabbed from our tool box that wouldn’t give animals access to what’s inside the bin (bigger than a nail hole but smaller diameter than a pencil).  It could be any size, though if the holes get too big you may lose compost through them.

3. Some sides of the bin were a little more difficult to drill into than others because of the shape of the bin, so that determined how many holes I drilled and where there were.  I wanted to make sure there were enough holes for air flow and also to allow water in an out.

And that’s it!  After I was done drilling all 6 sides I brought it inside to fill up.  On hand I had some shredded papers and veggies.

I put the veggies in whole so I can see how long composting takes.  It is recommended that you chop everything up so that it decomposes faster.

Now that I have my compost bin ready I did some more research to know exactly what I can put into it and how it works, I posted my research here.

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