Headed towards back to the basics living.

Starting A Compost Bin, Part 1

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Got dried leaves somewhere out in your yard? (You know those ones you meant to rake before the snow began last winter?)

Got kitchen scraps? (Who doesn’t right?)  What about dryer lint or coffee grounds?

Aw, then you my friend have got the goods for some nice compost.


So what exactly is compost? Compost is that stuff most people (including myself) cart home from their local garden center each spring to try and improve their soil. It’s dark, crumbly, earthy smelling and coveted by many a gardener.

So why would you want to try and make this stuff yourself?

  • It’s saves you money!!! No more large awkward bags of soil. No more gas wasted for a trip to the store.You already have a lot of the stuff needed on hand.
  • It’s really easy! Really! I’ll show you how we got started in a days time in my next post.
  • It’s really great for the environment. The average american family produces over 1200 pounds of organic waste in a single year. Most of it goes to the landfills where they can’t decompose because the conditions aren’t right to allow for that. Composting at home also means you know what’s in your compost-no chemicals you really didn’t intend for and honestly don’t need.
  • Your plants will love it! See how happy these plants are over at Kraft Werke?

So what materials can be composted? Basically anything that was once a plant can be used. There are two main types of materials you want to add to your pile:

  • Brown Materials (carbon rich)-Dried leaves, plant trimmings, straw, pine needles, small branches, dried grass, sawdust, shredded newspaper, dryer lint.
  • Green Materials(nitrogen rich)- Fresh plant and grass clippings, vegetable and fruit waste, tea bags, coffee grounds, hair, fur and barnyard feces (got chickens or cows?).

***DON’T use these things in your compost pile: Meats, grease, fats and oil, dairy products, dog/cat feces,, diseased or invasive plants or roots of bermuda grass and also oleander, eucalyptus and salt cedar.

So how to get started? Simple, start saving up acceptable items from around your house. If you don’t have an item then start asking around if others are willing to share or could use a little free yard work in exchange for the goods you need. We’ve even seen some free listings on Craigslist for this sort of thing.

Then, decide where you’ll want to put your bin in your yard. You’ll want the bin to be a minimum of 30 inches in each direction. If you don’t have a yard there are ways to use an indoor compost bin. I’ve read about apartment dwellers who do it.

Are you still with me here? I know this post has gotten a little (make that a lot) too long. So in tomorrow’s post I’ll show you exactly what we did (promise lots of pics) to get ourselves up and running. It only took us about half a day-not bad for something that has so many benefits! Have fun collecting your materials! Although I’m sure it won’t take you too long. It’s amazing how fast they add up!


One thought on “Starting A Compost Bin, Part 1

  1. I like composting my own stuff. I love to add nutrients back to the soil and feed my plants. Plant and Garden Blog

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