Posts Tagged With: compost bin

No Excuses! Start Composting

You read and research a lot of material on how to start composting and still you are hesitant. “It’s too hard; it costs too much; is it worth it?” are a few of the same excuses you told yourself at the start of your last DIY project. You successfully tackled those challenges and with our help you will master the art of composting as well. Time to get started!

The Importance of a DIY Compost BinWhy Should We Compost?

  • Our landfills are running out of room. Twenty-five percent of the garbage in the U.S. is yard trimmings and food scraps. That is nearly 60 million tons of organic materials that we could be turning back into nutrients for our soil.
  • It saves money. Instead of spending funds on manmade compost and fertilizers, making your own is just common sense…and cost-effective, too.
  • It helps you create a healthier, thriving garden by suppressing diseases and pests.
  • It reduces greenhouse gases. Landfills break down anaerobically (without oxygen) which produces methane gas. These emissions are far more toxic than CO2 gases.
  • It reduces the chemicals entering our rivers and lakes as water runs off from the land.
  • It eliminates the toxic elements that are created in landfills that seep into our ground water.

Composting is Easy

If you can expend the energy to gather yard waste in the first place, then you are halfway to composting. Simply deposit the waste into a compost bin or pile and there you have it. There are plenty of DIY compost bin designs on the internet for you to build. If you’d rather keep it simple – start with a compost pile. Find a semi-shady spot in your yard where the pile will get some sun but won’t dry out. The pile needs to be able to get enough rain to keep it damp but not completely wet. Keep your pile away from the base of trees so that the tree roots will not be affected by the decomposition process of the pile.

For more information on composting check out our previous blogs, Go Green: Create a Compost Collection Pile and 10 Good-Sense Tips for Building a Compost Bin.

Invite the Bacteria and Bugs In

Compost is good for your yard and the environment. Bacteria, bugs, worms and fungi will soon be enjoying the fruits of your labor and helping to break down the waste into usable humus or nutrients for your lawn or garden. Using compost in your garden helps plants to grow stronger and produce higher yields. It will also help suppress diseases and pests.

No Odor? No Problems

Still concerned that an open compost pile will give off noxious smells and attract pests? Only compost done wrong stinks. Too much water or not enough air flow through a pile can often be the culprits. Turning your pile regularly with a pitch fork helps break up the clumps of material that may be too wet.

Bury the Food Scraps

Noticing flies buzzing around your pile? They are after the food waste. Always bury your food scraps under a layer of grass clippings or other vegetation. This will also help keep rats and other rodents from being a problem. You can sprinkle lime or calcium over the pile to neutralize odors and help speed up the decomposition.

Start Your Compost Pile Off Right

Layering the materials in your compost pile is the best way to start it out on the right foot. Start with a layer of organic material (leaves and grass clippings) followed by animal manures, fertilizers and starters. Finish up with a layer of top soil. Keep layering until you get a good base for your compost pile. You do not need to layer materials after this. Just sit back and let the magic happen.

Composting – Good All the Way Around

Think of composting as organized garbage removal. Besides being good for the environment and your wallet, it is completely beneficial to the health of your yard and garden. So quit making excuses and get busy composting. You’ll be happy you did.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with your composting projects. From wheel barrows and shovels to rakes and other landscaping tools, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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10 Good-Sense Tips for Building a Compost Bin

How to Build a Compost BinAs you clean up your yard this summer, consider how you plan to dispose of all that yard waste. Maybe it’s time to start composting grass clippings and weeds. Building a compost bin can be as simple as looking around your yard for materials you can recycle and make into a container. Before we start construction though, let’s decide how best to set up our composting station.

  1. Define your composting needs – Do you want to get rid of yard waste or do you want to commit fully to recycling and add kitchen scraps into the mix?
  2. Check for local restrictions – In some areas you have to set compost bins a certain distance from lot lines. This is particularly true in urban areas.
  3. Consider the physical work required – Compost piles need to be “turned” to allow materials to aerate and to avoid clumping. You will need to shovel the compost material with a pitch fork or other heavy-duty tool, which means your upper body can get a good workout. If “turning” compost does not sound like fun, consider constructing a “tumbler”-style bin and crank your way to the perfect compost.
  4. Determine a location – Find a spot in your yard where the bin can benefit from an adequate mix of sun and shade. Full sun will dry out your pile and full shade won’t allow the pile to dry out enough. Avoid putting the bin close to trees so it doesn’t damage the roots when you stake it into ground.
  5. Place close to a water source – Watering your compost pile is the key to promoting good breakdown of materials. A compost pile should be kept moist like a damp sponge, but not soaking wet.
  6. Keep drainage in mind – Make sure the location for the bin is level and offers good drainage.
  7. Plan for good ventilation – Compost piles need adequate ventilation for the materials to decompose.
  8. Size always matters – Build a bin that is not less than 3 feet by 3 feet or greater than 5 feet by 5 feet. Too small and the compost may become compacted; too large and it will not get adequate air circulation.
  9. What’s that smell? – If you are adding kitchen waste like fruit and vegetable peels then your bin may attract pests. Burying the peels in the compost will deter critters from creeping into your compost pile. You can add calcium or lime to keep any unwanted smells down, too.
  10. What will the neighbors think? – Once you have decided where to build, consider how others might view your gardening project. Camouflaging the bin with lattice or high growing shrubs to block the view will help it blend into the landscape.

After considering these factors, you are ready to select the design of your compost bin. You can build a composter out of a number of different materials. If you are using wooden slats, be sure to keep a 1-½” space between the boards for good air flow. If you need to keep rodents out of your pile, incorporate chicken wire and a secure lid into your design. Avoid using plywood since the moisture in the compost pile will cause it to break apart. Building a compost bin can be as simple or a complex as you want to make it. All you need are the materials, some basic tools like a hammer and circular saw and your imagination.

Once you’ve completed your brand new compost bin, it’s time to start layering. Start off a compost pile by layering equal measures of brown waste, green waste and top soil. Water the pile once you’re done and wait for nature to take its course. After a week or so, “turn” your pile and work in new materials. You don’t have to continue layering once your compost pile has started.

Brown Waste vs. Green Waste vs. Other Waste

Here’s a quick look at what constitutes brown and green waste, and what other materials are suitable for a compost pile:

Brown Waste:

  • Dead leaves
  • Shredded paper
  • Coffee grounds and coffee filter
  • Cardboard
  • Woody hedge clippings and twigs
  • Sawdust
  • Hay or straw

Green Waste:

  • Fresh grass clippings
  • Flowers
  • Nettles
  • Vegetable and fruit peelings
  • Vegetable crop residue
  • Young weeds
  • Herbivore manure
  • Tea leaves

Other Waste:

  • Egg Shells
  • Hair (both human and pet hair)
  • 100% pure wool or cotton
  • Vacuum bag contents
  • Wood ash

Find out what NOT to compost and more information in our blog, Go Green: Create a Compost Collection Pile.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with your composting projects. From circular saws to wheel barrows and shovels, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

*Photo Courtesy of House Logic
Categories: Gardening and Lawn Care, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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