Building a compost bin can be a very simple process, it’s just a box to confine the compost while providing holes for air flow. A compost bin can be assembled from scrap lumber for the frame and some kind of mesh to allow air flow. I have seen compost bins made from masonary blocks, but this is not a good solution as it doesn’t allow for air flow. If you have access to shipping pallets, these can also be a good solution. Use pallets for the back and sides and just add a detachable gate on the front.
Stay away from round compost bins, unless you opt to purchase a compost bin that is on rollers for easy turning. If you are building your own, make it square, so you can add a detachable gate. Garden compost can be heavy and trying to turn compost in a closed round bin is a very difficult task.
If space allows, two bins 4x4x4 are good as you can move the compost back and forth between them. You’ll need a gate or detachable wall on the front of your compost bin so you can remove it to work your compost. If you have the space, compost piles work just fine. You will want a little more mass for compost piles.
There are also compost bins, barrels etc. that can be purchased. Some of them are on rollers that make turning your compost easier and speeds up the process. There are tools or compost turners that make turning your pile easier. I have used the easy way and the harder way, and I can tell you they both work fine. You can use a compost thermometer and be precise, or you can poke a long stick in the middle of your compost heap and hope it comes out toasty warm, a sign that things are cooking.
To make truly organic compost it would need to be free of any chemicals or man made materials. In other words, consider your kitchen waste from fruit and vegetables. If you carefully monitor what you purchase and make sure it is organically grown then you will probably have truly organic compost.
So, What Goes On In That Compost Heap?
Well, consider it a backyard science project. There’s a whole life system going on in middle earth whether you are aware of it or not. All those composting materials you assembled and mixed are considered yummy stuff to some life forms, and that is good. Your compost heap will be home to critters seen and unseen. Microbes, earthworms and bugs will all toil away at converting this mass to a sweet-smelling earthlike substance. This is the force of nature at work. As they really get into their work your compost piles will really heat up, and as their food and air source lessens it will cool down and you’ll need to open your compost bin and turn it to provide more fuel and air.
Reasons For Making Compost Are Many
There are many good reasons to compost. It is an environmentally friendly way to get rid of yard waste, kitchen waste and manure. If you have a lot of yard waste and grass clippings it can save you a considerable amount of money! Paying a deposit on a yard waste container, and the charges for picking it up regularly can get pretty pricey.
The benefit to our soil is a very good reason as well. Soil is an under appreciated substance. We need water, air, and sunshine to survive. And soil! As we pull our chairs up to the table we should think about that, whether we garden or not, we do all eat.
Compost is used along many highways now to prevent soil erosion. Using compost benefits different types of soil, whether you have clay soil or sandy soil it will improve the structure. Compost acts as a soil conditioner. It helps prevent soil compaction to aid in root growth and aids in retaining water and nutrients and allows for needed oxygen. It also re-introduces good microbes to tired soil to energize it.
Whether you maintain a vegetable garden or just focus on flower gardening, having a compost container and making your own compost will be of great benefit to your plants.