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i make compost

April 6, 2012

Sorry this post was delayed! I created it in a batch Monday night and I created the wrong publish setting! D’oh. Anyway…

It’s pretty easy to make compost because, well, I don’t really have to do anything. I wrote about my beginning experiences with it on my old blog. Still using the same setup – a plastic trash can with the bottom cut off and holes drilled in the sides for aeration. It’s upside down so the taper will let everything slip out instead of get compressed. It originally had one of those tops with the swinging door to drop stuff it, but it made it too easy for flies to get in and was always getting lopsided. So now I just put a flat metal lid on and weight it down with a couple bricks.

When it’s time to harvest some compost I bring over a folding seat, a storage tote, and a short handled hoe. There’s always a little shovel by the bin. The tote I store the finished compost in also has small holes drilled all over it to keep letting it decompose without going anaerobic. That orange tote in the back is always there. My parents toss food scraps into it and at the end of day I shovel them into the bin which they don’t like to open. It also holds almost finished compost that I layer over the new stuff going into the bin.

It’s always a happy surprise to find something sprouted from the compost bin.

I prop the bin up off the ground with bricks and use the hoe to pull the contents out from the bottom. Then it gets dumped onto the screen which is made from ¼” hardware cloth stapled to an old frame from the thrift shop. I push everything around on the screen and the finished compost falls into the tote below. All the stuff that’s stuck on top goes into the orange tote for now. Always keep an eye out for a slugs and crawly backs, I don’t want them to end up out in the garden.

It’s cool when I see what’s gone through the bin (usually two to 3 months) and is still recognizable. There’s a coconut shell that’s been going through the bin for a year already… at this point the only reason it’s still in there is I’m determined to see how long it finally takes to disappear! Also goblin egg gourds from last Halloween, an avocado skin, the nasturtium seedling that was growing out an air hole, avocado pit, popsicle stick, newspaper shreds… Yeah some things take a few rides.

While I’m busy sorting the compost, slugs usually start climbing up the inside of the bin, away from the disturbance. Makes them easy to pick out for a round of Smashy Smashy. Or, if it’s a hot day they might go on a flight to the roof – sundried slug anyone?

End product – about 5 gallons of compost for today 🙂

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