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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Small Garden Composters Start With a Beehive Compost Bin

Posted by admin on September 22, 2010

If you are a new to garden composting and have little space for a Garden Composter you may be concerned with how the garden compost bin will impact 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 bought 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 leave 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 pressie 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 fab 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 a 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!

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Composting: Create A Feast For Your Garden Straight From Your Kitchen

Posted by admin on September 21, 2010

Compost Soil

It has been estimated that the average American household disposes of more than two hundred pounds of kitchen scrap waste yearly. This is waste that is going into our landfills when it could be enriching our gardens. Composting is a lot easier to achieve than most people realize. If you have an organized system, it will take no more time to compost than it does to trash your scraps.

There are many variations of compost bins available for purchase on the market ranging from simple to extravagant and expensive. You may choose this route, or you may like to build your own. This is a relatively simple task; you must just ensure that your bin or box is covered to keep animals away yet still allows for drainage and aeration. Many install a screen on the bottom of the bin to help with this problem.

Almost all forms of kitchen waste can be easily composted. This will make an inexpensive and yet rich fertilizer for your lawn or garden. There are two categories of commonly used composting items: green nitrogen rich substances and brown carbon rich ones:

Green materials that you can compost are: Herbivore animal manure, coffee grounds and filters, fruit trimmings, peeling remnants and cores, vegetable peelings, leaves and remnants, grains, grass clippings, green leaves, hair and fur, shredded newspaper, tea bags, and houseplants.

Brown Materials to be used for composting are: cardboard rolls that are shredded, clean paper that is shredded, dry leaves, straw, newspaper that is shredded, nut shells, pine needles, sawdust, wood ships, wool rags, vegetable stalks, crushed eggshells, and fireplace ash that is not from coal.

Here are items that you should take care not to add to your compost pile: Anything containing chemicals or that has been chemically treated, bird droppings, bones, cat or dog feces, human waste, ashes from coal, colored paper, dairy products, diseased plants, grease in any form, and treated wood or wood products. These substances can be toxic to both plants and humans

You generally want to try to keep a ratio of brown to green material at 25:1. Carbon materials break down very slowly and will keep your compost pile from completely decomposing and being ready to use. On the other hand, if too many nitrogen substances exist, this can create a bad odor that will also attract animals to your bin.



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The Right Way to Compost

Posted by admin on June 22, 2009

There is a right way to compost, and there’s a better way to compost.  The only wrong way to compost is to not do it at all.

I, too, was as guilty as many other gardeners who have wasted time and the benefit of compost in the garden by getting hung up on silly details. Questions like, “Should I use a tumbler, a bin, or just make a pile?”  “What should I put into the compost?”  “How much time and effort will it take to make decent compost?”

Think about it for awhile.  The materials that fall to the forest floor will even break themselves down in time.  It doesn’t require any special handling or human effort.  Your pile will do the same, if you just get started.

Before I would consider composting, I needed a good reason.  There are many reasons to compost.

  • Composting reduce the quantity of material going to landfills, thereby reducing methane and carbon dioxide production that occurs there.
  • Compost is a great source of nutrients for your plants.  It’s better than raw manure and carries a better range of nutrients than chemical fertilizers.
  • Experience increased biological activity in your soil which improves nutrient cycling and improves plant health.
  • Adding compost to your soil helps to hold moisture and reduce runoff.
  • Compost is free (or at least cheaper to acquire) than chemical fertilizers.

Finally, the reason that compelled me to begin composting:

It’s a heck of a lot easier to throw my yard waste into a pile than it is to haul all of it to the landfill.

But, you need to go to Rod Turner to find a better way to compost.  He is the expert on the right way to compost.  If you’re interested in making the world’s best compost, get his book, read it, and follow his simple directions for making the finest plant nutrition you can get.

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A Selfish Green Gardener

Posted by admin on December 18, 2008

I’m not out to save the planet.  I don’t have the energy, nor the passion.  It doesn’t mean that I’m destructive, or don’t care.  It just means that my motivation for my “green-ness”  comes from a more….uh….self-serving purpose.

For Instance:

I enjoy a great deal of pride when I’m able to share a comfortable and relaxing environment with my guests.  For that to happen, I need a nice home and yard.  Yard work really sucks, but I do it cause I enjoy the results.

There’s no better eatin’ than fresh veggies from the garden.  They taste even better when you’ve grown them yourself.  Tending a garden is a whole lot of work (similar to the yard work, above), but the end result is worth it.

Our home sits on a one acre lot.  That’s not huge, but it gives us a little space.  It, also, gives us about 25,000 sq. ft. of lawn to mow.  Which brings me to the reason I compost.  Throwing the clippings in a pile sure beats loading them onto the trailer and hauling them to the landfill.  With a little extra effort, I can get that stuff to turn to “dirt” and use it to grow better veggies.

So, what about the rest of my property.  We still have plenty of space to grow weeds.  Have you ever priced out a gallon of weed killer?  My goodness!  I thought it was expensive to fuel my pickup.

Was I ever pleased to learn that I could swipe my wife’s household materials to kill the weeds!  You should see this list of home grown weed killers that Hanna posted at her “This Garden is Illegal” blog.  Not only has she identified several inexpensive and readily available substances, she has described how to use them.

Now, my wife is talking about locking all our cabinets.

 

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