Posted by admin on June 11, 2011
If you are new to garden composting and have little space for a Garden Composter you may be concerned with what impact the garden compost bin will have on the garden. I would recommend new home composters with small gardens to start with a beehive compost bin if possible. It is true that in many gardens the home made compost pile is often a rather untidy affair, and the purchased garden compost bin is often not a beautiful option either, all brown or green plastic. In many situations this is fine, and indeed appropriate. But in smaller gardens particularly, where things cannot be hidden and every garden fixture and fitting has an impact on the whole, it is nice to achieve the garden recycling dream of home composting without detracting from the beauty of the garden. A wooden beehive compost bin will provide you with an effective garden composter while improving the beauty of your outside space.
It makes sense, in a small garden to have a relatively small garden compost bin. But it must still be practical. The compost bin must be large enough for you to take at least three to six months to fill. Then you should leave it alone for three to six months to decompose. During that time you need another compost bin to fill. If you only have one compost bin, you will need to take out the decomposed contents from the bottom of the bin regularly, while still continually adding to the top of the bin. This is possible but far from ideal. Two garden compost bins, or a dual chamber compost bin, is best. But I admit once you get the home composting bug, you well want more. Indeed we have four at present but in the future, who knows!
My first foray into the world of home composting was with a municipally sponsored, 200 litre capacity, plastic compost bin. I have to say it worked really well. The plastic stops the compost drying out and keeps things warm. The garden compost we got from our plastic bin was fine and crumbly and really gave me the garden composting bug. But that big plastic compost bin didn’t look that great in the small urban garden we then had.
Local councils often sponsor compost bins and water barrels. Check with yours. That was how we got our first water barrel and plastic compost bin. It made both very cheap indeed.
The ugliness of those plastic compost bins is a turn-off for some though. Indeed I have friends with small gardens who just would not have one in the garden to spoil the view. Even though they like to be ‘green’ and ‘eco’ in other ways they couldn’t bring themselves to recycle kitchen waste and recycle garden waste via such an eyesore! Daft I suppose, but true and far from rare thoughts, I imagine. Lets face it, as much as many of us like to lessen our impact on the earth we still have certain wants and needs. And, if yours is keeping the garden pretty and/or plastic free, the plastic compost bin and water barrel combo is not for you!
This is why I am such a fan of the wooden beehive composter. They are beautiful. Indeed I would love one, even though it would be totally impractical as we compost vast quantities of organic matter. They are just so attractive!
I think being able to buy a beautiful product is a great thing. If you aren’t one of life’s natural garden composters, happy with bins made of pallets, plastic and chicken wire, a touch of glamour may well motivate you. I can’t see any reason why you wouldn’t want to visit and regularly top up such a pretty garden compost bin! Surprisingly they aren’t as expensive as I assumed they’d be either, and really do make a feature out of whatever spot in the garden they appear in.
I would always advise having as large a compost bin as possible and indeed composting as much garden, kitchen and animal waste as practical. I am the proud owner of a dry compost loo, so I know whereof I speak. But, for small gardens and just those new to home composting, I think getting a pretty compost bin is a great idea.
So many people think making garden compost is dirty, or difficult, or hard work, that for them, building an array of compost boxes is never going to be even a thought. But for anyone who starts home composting even just a few kitchen scraps and lawn clippings in a relatively small prebuilt compost bin, it is still a reduction in commercial composts sold, peat bog destroyed and landfill filled.
Thus, even though I will never have one, I thoroughly see the point of the beautiful, rustic wooden beehive compost bins and still lust after them in my girlier gardening moments. But for me the whole point of garden composting is to make as much hummus as possible so they would never be practical here.
I think they would make a great gift for someone (with a pretty garden) who is yet to be converted to the merits of composting garden waste or kitchen scraps too. For those people will see ‘what is compost?’ quickly and through the rose tinted spectacles of someone with a particularly beautiful compost bin!
Sealed garden compost bins are great for composting without worrying about vermin or indeed children getting their hands on the kitchen waste. In wet climates your sealed bins mean you don’t get the whole heap too wet (which would stop the microbes being able to function). They also prevent all the goodness leaching away. Sealed compost bins are equally fabulous in hot climates where the heap could dry out (microbes do need moist conditions just not saturated ones).
If I was just starting out garden composting or looking for a small garden composter, I would definitely look into the wooden beehive compost bin option. Whether to improve the look of a small garden or because you are only composting kitchen waste on a small scale, they work well and look great.
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