Thursday, October 27, 2011

DIY compost bin

We are all about recycling and reusing stuff at Casa De Pearson, so when it came to food scraps what better way to recycle than to have our own compost bin. We looked at several types online to buy and to make and realized we'd get a much bigger one and better one if we made it ourselves.   We love the fact that our old veggie/fruit/egg shells/coffee grinds/etc. get a new life as deep rich soil to use in our garden. Plus we're saving money on store bought soil/compost.  It's a win win situation for us and the environment.  

First we scoped out a place for it in the yard.  We wanted it away from the house and in the sunlight, but not so far away that it would be a trek to get to it. We ended up plopping it in the back corner.
We have a metal composting container on our kitchen counter for the scraps and we empty it about every 4 days. It has a filter in the lid to contain odors. We haven't had any issues with it so far. We leave an old shovel out with the the heap to bury the fresh scraps. 

Here are details on supplies and instructions on building it.

2  4"x4"x8' pressure-treated posts, each cut in half (hardware store will do it for free/cheap)
12 1"x6"x8' pressure-treated boards, each cut in half
2" wood screws

We leveled a 4' x 4' patch of ground, dug 6" into the ground at each corner, then put each 4"x4"x4' post in those holes, and pack the dirt so the posts are somewhat stable. Then just attach each 1"x6"x4' board to the posts using the wood screws (pre-drill the holes to make life easy). We built the front two planks high, we might add another if our compost volume gets too high. 

Here is a view from the other side of the fenced in area. As you can see it blends well with our fence as it's the same color. We also had the open part facing outward so more sunlight would hit it. Thus making the contents break down faster.

Our kids love this compost bin and finding worms from around the yard to add to it.  We have seen several worms get pretty big from all the food. When you're using your compost bin, make sure to add equal parts brown material (i.e. leaves, dirt, grass clippings) with your food scraps. Then make sure to use a shovel to stir it up every week or so and to cover any food (otherwise you'll get lots of fruit flies and other insects.)  We haven't really had this issue, nor does it smell.

If you have your own compost bin, please share. We love ours, but probably could improve on the design.


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