The responsibilities of maintaining an efficient and eco-friendly home can be challenging at times.
Beginning these undertakings are sometimes daunting, but they do not have to be, the secret is choosing one project to complete at a time.
This is one my husband and I tackled in one afternoon that has a positive and long-term affect. We chose to create a compost bin for our garden.
Choosing to Create a Compost Bin
The choice to create a compost bin is not necessarily a huge decision. It does, however, take effort, patience, and dedication to maintain after you begin.
The purpose of making and maintaining a compost bin is to provide nourishment for gardens and flower beds.
Done right, the results are healthier flowers, fruits, and vegetables while being economical. This is also a great project to do with your children as an easy, inexpensive science project.
A great and added benefit to choosing to compost, is you are making a direct decision to recycle and reduce waste while giving back to your immediate environment.
The materials required are easily accessible. This past year, I decided we needed to compost, and did not budget a single dime.
Being the creative that I am, I improvised and select an old, empty Rubbermaid tote we weren’t using in our basement after moving.
The plastic 20-gallon sized container was ideal complete with a tight-fitting lid. My husband drilled 15 randomly placed holes to allow aeration and breathability.
We found items we could use outside and around our home. We used fallen leaves and a couple of leftover newspaper pages.
Luckily, we also had leftover topsoil that acted as a barrier among the air and the foods we placed in our bin.
Filling the Bin
To begin, the process requires “activators”. These are nitrogenous, earthy items that allow the decomposition process to begin after filling your bin.
We covered the bottom with dry leaves. Then, we covered those leaves with leftover topsoil from previous projects.
We added a second layer of leaves and covered again with dry topsoil. It needs mentioning that old newspapers are also a great option to add.
After adding these few layers, we placed old food in the container and mixed well. The intent is to make sure the old food is mixed well into the activators and then covered to begin the decomposition process.
When you have completed the mixing process, you may spray a tiny amount of water, but do not saturate the contents of your bin. Too much water will create a dissatisfactory smell and hinder the process.
When completed, cover the bin with the lid and leave it. Remember, when you add new composting items, always mix your bin well.
You can also choose to purchase pre-mixed activating products, however, what you need can be found around you.
Routinely add items to your bin and continue to mix frequently. Some great items to add are fruits, vegetables, and some leftover food.
It is not a good idea to place meats inside as they will also contribute to the rotting smell your bin could develop if not maintained properly.
Where to Place Your Compost Bin
Where you decide to place your bin is a direct impact your compost bin.
The ideal location is away from plain sight and guarded against the effects of unsatisfactory weather, such as rain or snow since moisture will also directly impact how well your waste decomposes.
The location we placed our bin is next to our house in our backyard away from plain sight. We hid it between our storage shed and fence to protect it and to prevent an eyesore.
We also chose that location based on convenience in mulching and lawn conditioning when seeding.
Tips for Using Your Compost
Generally, the duration for composting is 2-3 months after starting and routine maintenance of your mixture.
When you use your mixture, it’s a good rule of thumb to leave around a third or a quarter in the bottom to reuse as the activating products again so you do not have to start completely over. Be sure to remember to cover your bin after using.
Creating a composting bin is simple, quick and an efficient way to recycle with added benefits of making your garden and flower beds healthier.
We use this as a great learning experience for our child and to teach him about the impacts of our environment in our home. I hope that these tips will help you in your venture to creating a composting bin.