How to Make Compost II
- This article was last updated on 10/05/2014
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Here are some additional tips on how to prepare and use your own compost for your garden.
The best bins for this purpose are circular fence or silo bins. You can find them in feed and seed stores, home improvement stores, agricultural supply stores and other similar places. These stores sell various types of wire fence in rolls of different lengths. You should look for agricultural livestock fence here, not chain link fence. There is lot of it you can use to make your bins, and you can even share it with friends – several people can make compost bins out of the same roll of fence. If you share the expenses, it is not pricey and it becomes a very effective and even affordable way to make your compost bins. One word of advice: don’t use chicken wire. It is too flexible and small so the compost will bulge the wire and get stuck.
To make the bin, start by cutting a 10 foot piece and make sure to leave the wire sticking out on the end so you can make a hoop with it. Carefully crimp the loose wires or use something (such as tie wraps) to bind the ends together. By doing this, you will get a 3 foot diameter hoop ideal for making your compost.
Another way to go when making your compost bin is to use pallets. They are cheap, even free in many cases. They are excellent for your first bin, when you’re only testing to see what composting is like and if you seriously want to do it. Pallets will rot and attract termites eventually, and they don’t look great, but they give you a good chance to experience composting without too much investment and they will help you see if composting is for you or not.
If using pallet bins, have at least two of them, side by side. To make them, use a total of five pallets. Make a three-wall structure and then finally add a back and side walls using one pallet as a center dividing wall. Why do you need two bins side by side? Because you’ll make the pile in one bin and when it’s time to turn it, you will toss it into the other bin. If you are really serious about this, you may even add a third bin to help you with turning the pile.
If your yard is very small and if all you want is to make a little compost without much time and effort, use barrels and tumblers as your compost bins. The most expensive option is to use commercial products specially made for composting, such as ComposTumbler. If you want to save some money, any old barrel with a plastic or a metal cap will do. Simply drill a bunch of 0.5 inch holes in the barrel and stand it on its end. Fill it and cap it. Once per day or so, knock it over and push it around, and water it once in a while. Your compost will be finished in a few weeks or months.
You can make a good barrel from a trashcan. If you take one on wheels, it’s even better – this way, you will be able to wheel the finished compost to the garden or potting shed quickly and without much effort.
No, a bin is not necessary: you can make compost without it. It’s a matter of a personal preference, and people who use bins feel it’s more practical this way. Bins will keep all the contents together even when the wind blows. Also, bins look nicer than piles of dead leaves and grass. Depending on the type, bins can help you keep rodents and other animals out. However, if you have enough room in your yard and you don’t mind some loose leaves blowing, it’s not really necessary to use a bin.
It depends on your property. You wish to keep your compost bin near your house and garden to be easily reachable and that you will actually use it. On the other hand, you don’t want it to be too close to your house to be an eyesore or that you have to smell it all the time.
Whatever you choose as the best spot, keep in mind that you can compost either in full sun or full shade. Full sun will dry the pile out faster, so you need to make sure it’s watered regularly. If you choose to compost in full shade, it will not dry out easily, but you’ll need to ensure a better air circulation, which means you will have to turn the pile more often.
Compost can be used in many different ways. Here are some of the popular ideas:
Finally, here is the basic terminology you should know if you want to make your own compost. Believe it or not, compost has its own lingo, so here are some basic definitions to help you: