Over the last few years I have had several friends ask me what kind of compost bin I have and where I got it. They seem surprised (and at times skeptical) when I tell them about my compost bin. Like most hobbies in my life, I like to go the cheapest route possible when I first try something new. I wait until I am sure I will regularly use something before I invest much money. So no, I don't have one of those fancy round compost bins that have a crank to make it easy to turn. I don't even have one of those less fancy plastic compost bins that are popular these days at the hardware stores. No, my compost bin is homemade out of materials that I got for free.
Are you impressed!? Well, keep reading... I am not a handy person so I use the term "homemade" very lightly. My compost bin is made out of wire fencing (that I got for free at a garage sale) and heavy duty twist ties to hold it together. Sounds pretty fancy doesn't it! In fact, this compost bin was so easy to make and even easier to use, that last year I "built" another one. This year I think I will combine the two of them into one big bin which I hope will make it easier to stir.
So without further ado, here are some pictures of my fancy schmancy homemade and hand built compost bins, feel free to copy my design. (first picture is the bin newly set up for the season, the second is a full bin in the Spring)...
So what do I put in those bins you ask? I keep a bucket under the kitchen sink where we toss all of the compostable kitchen scraps; discarded vegetable materials, egg shells, coffee grounds (and filters), tea bags, indoor plant debris...etc. When it's full, I bring it out to the garden and dump it into a bin.
Once in a while I will turn the contents of the bins (easier said than done) and throw the black gold from the bottom of the bins out into the garden. I also sometimes will add dirt over the top to cover any sweet fruit waste I put into the bin (to keep from attracting yellow jackets). But for the most part, I am too busy to do anything but just toss the scraps into the bins.
I put the bins at the highest point in my gardens so that when it rains, the composted material will wash out through the fencing and into the garden (and I don't have to haul it across the yard). Each Spring I undo the twist ties and pull out the fencing. Then I spread the contents of the bins (at this point mostly black gold!) over the garden and till it all in. If there are any large, uncomposted chunks, I pick them up and toss them back into the bin.
That's it, simple as that. Here are some pictures of my beautiful black gold from the bins this Spring (awesome picture I know!)...
Now that I've been doing this for a few years, I am tempted to get one of those fancy bins that have the turn crank. I hesitate because I have heard mixed reviews about this type of bin. I don't want composting to become a chore (and I'm cheap) so I will probably just continue using my homemade bins for now. We'll see.
I would love to hear from you about your composting method! Please share your stories about composting, what worked well and what didn't work for you. I especially would love to hear any reviews about experiences with any of those fancy bins (pros and cons?).