Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Composting

We now move onto composting basics. I am still learning about what can be composted but started off with some basics. The first round came up good and has been great for the garden.

First, we gotta start by buying or creating a compost bin. These can be free, cheap or expensive and it is only limited by your creativity. I started off by just making a big pile behind the garage and turned it every now and then, It worked for a while but it got too big and turning was a pain. I gave in and did some research on some bins. I started with standard bins and ended up looking at rotating tumbling bins.

The first ones that I looked at were just "box" like bins and offered no real help to turn the materials. The size of the bin did not bother me because I have the room for it. I was at Costco with the wife and stopped in my tracks when I saw the most amazing thing I had seen in a long time. Tied to a rack was a massive 75 gallon tumbling / rotating compost bin and she was a beauty. It was just what I had been looking for and I had to have it. When my wife walked by me and saw the look on my face, she just said I could have it as a birthday gift. I never thought, even for a second, that I would want a compost bin. She knows that look and I would not take "No" for an answer. The fun part was getting that box inside and out of a 98 Toyota Corolla.Once it was out, even more fun began.

The fun continued once I finally put the thing together and filling it. The box recommends that 2 people put this thing together and there is a reason for it. It took me about 4 hours by myself and it took less than 20 minutes to fill.

To fill this bin, I had to wrangle in the materials for it. I had just taken down a vine that had been falling off a wall and that was the first thing in the bin. I tossed in the pile I had going from behind the garage. Next came all of the vegetable scraps from the kitchen, including mom's kitchen. All of those scraps that normally go in the trash are now going into this bin and the road to gardener's black gold is taking shape.

Once filled up, I just rotate it every few days and wait for it to decompose. The bin sits in the sun and the heat helps the material break down faster. Once it is broken down, it can be mixed with soil where you are planting.I used my first batch for my raised beds and it has been doing wonders. My plants have shown new growth and more fruit has been coming in.

Well, I started trying to write a post as to how to compost but ended up sharing my experience. I hope you learned something anyways and  I will add some links that should redeem me.

I hope you will keep coming back.

-Luis

p.s.: Here are some links with more information on composting:
1. Composting Guide
2. Composting 101
3. How to Compost

This is the compost bin I am using:
Costco-Lifetime 75-gallon Tumbler Compost Bin
I bought mine in the spring and paid only $99 and not the current $175 asking price. Shop around.

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