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Compost Bins
Home Home Gardening
By: Darrell Feltmate Email Article
Word Count: 458 Digg it | it | Google it | StumbleUpon it


Out in the country, composting is as easy as you want to make it. Just start a pile in the back forty, perhaps behind a tree or two and nobody cares. Neighbors are close enough to be helpful and far enough away so that a pile of three in the backyard is neither noticed, unusual, or anybody else's business but your own. The suburbs can be a different story all together.

Many of our communities now have bylaws and covenants describing what is or is not allowed in backyards that may be viewed by next door neighbors or simply by passers by on the street. There are also misunderstandings over the idea that compost piles attracting vermin. A properly constructed and maintained pile is not a problem but proving that may be worth more aggravation than you are willing to pay. The solution to the whole question of neatness and vermin is "out of sight, out of mind." Enter the compost bin.

A compost bin is a container that holds compost. The simplest compost container is a big box. It can be made of wood, plywood, plastic, cinder block, or what have you. Commercial ones are available if you do not want to make your own. Each bin should hold a cubic yard of composting material.

Determine the size or sizes you need. This means deciding how much material you will have on hand to compost through the year, where the material will come from, and how much compost you will have a use for.

Unless you intend on bringing composting materials in from outside the property, most people have some yard waste, garden refuse and kitchen waste to compost. Unless the grass is long, it is usually best left on the lawn and most of the time garden refuse is a few weeds. Kitchen waste may be a couple of gallons a week even for vegetarians. Surprisingly, for most of us with small lots, one bin is sufficient for composting with what is called a cold pile.

Basically, open the top of the box and toss the material in. After a couple of years start taking compost out from the small door you have provided in the bottom. Again, for most of us, the amount that goes in will allow for enough to come out for our suburban lots. The box never seems to fill. That is not too surprising when you realize that the material is composting away.

Very neatly, the compost bin in the back yard is ecologically disposing of your waste and providing food for the garden. If there does seem to be a bit too much at times, scatter it over the lawn. It will love you for it.

Darrell Feltmate has been an avid organic gardener for over 25 years and has had compost piles ranging from a cubic yard to 8 cubic yards. His gardens have covered small 16 square foot grow boxes up to a 1/2 acre under cultivation. Composting information can be found at Compost Central.

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