Like it or not, compost happens. We might as well take advantage of it and put it to good use, right? At our house, we officially decided to build a compost system this year in honor of Earth Day and our garden. I have been perusing compost bins online to find the perfect match for composting and my menagerie to make our transition to green less blue for me. After studying and comparing, I knew for sure that I didn’t want to spend much to create a composter. And, as a resident of utopian suburbia, I also knew that I needed our compost area to be a little bit more attractive and contained than just a pile. Or four stakes wrapped with chicken wire. Nothing against those methods at all. I just happened to hone in on pallets as a DIY compost bin solution. Stay tuned for the official how-to along with a few bonus composting tips!
I walked around fantasizing about pallets for a couple of days. And then I saw them. Right in my own backyard. We laid a patio two summers ago, and the crates that the stones came in have been in storage. Waiting for this very moment.
So, this is how my version of a DIY compost bin came to be. I want my compost to have contact with the ground for a couple of reasons. I want the compost pile to improve the soil under the bin. I also want to be able to turn my compost without having my pitchfork get caught on boards. So I’ll have to flip my crate upside down and rip off the bottom, which is now the top.
Since my crate has a lot of space between boards, I’ll need to line it with chicken wire to hold the bits and pieces in and to keep the good air flow. And last but not least, this crate will need a cover to keep too much rain from soaking the compost and to keep the local raccoons at bay. I don’t want the blood of any beasts on my hands. And I am positive that the neighbor across the street from me will shoot to kill.
There are some general things to consider as you begin your journey into the world of rotting kitchen scraps and yard trimmings. You should first choose a partially shaded location for your composter. Too much sun will cause your pile to dry out quickly. You want to keep your heat on warm but not hot as your compost cooks, so partial shade is your best bet. Also, take the time to turn your compost weekly. This will air things out and will help separate chunks that might be smoldering into something foul rather than fluffy and light. And don’t let your pile become too dry. Water it if it isn’t moist to the touch as you add to it.
So, while this version of a compost bin isn’t exactly pretty, I’m optimistic that the compost that will eventually be created therein will be a dark, beautiful, wormy, bliss for the garden.
You might choose to head down to your local hardware store and buy an expensive bag of soil conditioner and that’s fine. But I hope you’ll go green like me and try brewing some up for yourself. Either way, compost happens, and your plants will reward you when you provide them the nutrients they love.