A little over a year ago, we purchased an acre of land in the country, then built a house on our property. We moved into our new home in December. This past summer, we spent many hours preparing our land for the lawn. This was a process that included removing rocks, pulling weeds, burying irrigation lines, and smoothing the soil.
The rocks are piled in a corner of our lot that is temporarily unused. That is the area where I will put in my shop at some later date.
The weeds we pulled went into our 6×10 flatbed trailer and were hauled to the compost area at the county landfill. Our climate is conducive to growing very large tumbleweeds, very quickly. I think we made about 4 trips with full loads of yard waste totaling about 2 1/2 tons of material.
After many, many evenings and weekends laboring in our yard, we finally planted our lawn seed. Now, we are watering it and watching for it to sprout. Oh, how we look forward to seeing green around our house.
I set aside an area about 30′ by 60′ to put in a vegetable garden. There is nothing better than fresh vegetables in the summer. The satisfaction of having grown them yourself greatly enhances the pleasure of eating all those luscious legumes.
So, next summer, we will have an abundance of lawn clippings and garden waste material. That means more trips to the landfill? Heck no! I’m going to become a Garden Composter. I’m going to recycle all that waste material and use it to make my vegetables grow even better.
I’ve begun the research and the study required to gain the knowledge necessary to recycle as much of our kitchen, lawn and garden waste material into valuable compost that I can use to enhance my garden.
A valuable guide to creating the best compost is “The World’s Best Compost – The How & Why”. This guide, not only describes how to create the best compost, but it also explains the science behind it in layman’s terms.
This book is a “must have” for anyone who is serious about being a Garden Composter.
If you’re like me, and you just want to take the lazy approach to disposing of yard waste, just throw it all in a pile and let it rot.
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.
I have lots more articles on gardening. Please check out my page and go to my blog from there!
With “everything you need to know” about composting in one small, easy to read volume emphasizes my philosophy that composting is so easy. In his book, Stu Campbell takes the scientific mumbo jumbo and simplifies it into terms that anyone can understand.
Don’t just take my word for it, though. Here’s what others have to say about Let it Rot!
From Library Journal
A readable, quietly humorous introduction to composting, this covers reasons to compost; differing approaches; how decomposition works; various methods, ingredients, and containers; how to speed decomposition; and how to use the end result. Campbell is an experienced gardener, and the book goes into great detail, but the text remains clear and interesting. The simple black-and-white illustrations vary between decorative sketches and straightforward diagrams; they could have been more frequent and more informative. The bibliography lists 14 other books on composting; a list of sources of composting supplies is also given. An interesting treatment of a basic subject for general readers, this is recommended for all gardening collections needing material on compost heaps. - Sharon Levin, Univ. of Vermont Medical Lib., Burlington
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
And here’s more…
“…the composter’s bible…Let It Rot will change the way you look at your garbage.” – Horticulture Review
“A good general book for setting up a composting system.” — Natural Health
“This is the book we most often use in our composting classes at the Garden. The content is excellent, easy, and entertaining to read.” – Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Plants & Gardens News
“The little classic that introduced thousands to composting.” – The Boston Globe
“An excellent paperback book … an easy read with plenty of clear advice.” –The Cincinnati Enquirer
“The best book on composting I’ve found.” — Howard Garrett in The Dallas Morning News
“…perhaps the most comprehensive book available on composting …from a publisher that all serious gardeners should know about.” – Marke Andrews in the Vancouver Sun
“Campbell is an experienced gardener and the book goes in to great detail but the text remains clear and interesting.” – Library Journal
“This paperback thoroughly covers the subject, touching on various composting methods, types of containers, where to locate the compost heap, procedures and what to do with the finished product.” –Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“…the composting stand-by…” – Salt Lake City Tribune
I haven’t experienced a problem with fungus gnats in my worm compost, before, or at least, if I did have them, I mistook them for fruit flies. Anyway, I understand that fungus gnat infestation can be a fairly common problem around worm compost.
I’ll be sure to watch more closely to see if they come around my place. The last thing I need is to bring more pests into my garden through my Garden Composter.
I went to Yahoo Answers to get some Compost How To regarding contents that you add to your garden composter. I was concerned about the ink on the shredded paper and cardboard that I introduce into my garden composter. I found this question on the topic.
How about the ink on cash register receipts from the store? How about the ink on cereal boxes and other packaging? What about the glue in corrugated cardboard boxes? This compost is for vegetable gardening.
Read on in the comments for a detaile answer that was given on this topic.
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