One woman's quest to save money, save the planet and save my sanity

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Lazy Composter

One of my goals this year is to actually use the compost that we have been creating since we moved here a few years back. Up until now we have just been piling stuff in a big heap where there was a set of three sided bins when we moved here. This is what our current compost situation looks like.
Thank goodness it's tucked away at the back of our property because not only is it useless, it's hideous to look at. It is technically "composting" but very passively. It's only help is the occasional churning by a chicken and which you may detect some tail feather in the left bin. Off tot he side is where we pile branches and bigger items, but this system makes it nearly impossible to turn it and it's location makes it inconvenient to take kitchen scraps out there.
I know even less about composting than I do about gardening so it seems like a good time to make some improvements. Last week I assembled the Soil Saver compost bin that we got recently. Incidentally, I paid half of what the website says it retails for. I picked this one because it seemed simple and inconspicuous and was made of 75% post consumer recycled plastic.
I set it up in between the garden and the chicken coop which are located off the kitchen side of the house. In other words, it's in a very easy location for loading it up. According to the directions, every six inches or so you want to put in a layer of soil or chopped leaves. I didn't want to spare the dirt, but I have a ton of chopped leaves that I raked off my garden. I wanted a place to keep the leaves until I need to put on the next layer so I built a makeshift "bin" out of some wooden stakes and leftover chicken wire. I put it right next to the Soil Saver and if I don't use all the leaves it will just keep composting and make more garden gold.
I was pretty pleased with myself for building this. It took about an hour and I got my hands somewhat scratched up, but at least it wasn't something else I added to the never ending "Honey Do" list. The disadvantage of having a super handy hubby is that you never have to build anything yourself. But right now David needs to get me ready a new chicken coop, a brooder box and a goat shed so I figured I could at least take this on.
So far so good and apparently it gets the chicken seal of approval. Go ahead, take a dump in there, it will only make for better veggies.


  1. If you need to increase your nitrogen content in the composer, rabbit food is a good cheap way of doing that :-) Plus be sure to keep it wet, like a rung out sponge, it will help it break down faster. And mixing it will also be helpful.

  2. Hmm, rabbit food. I am going to check the moisture after the next rain. My bin is supposed to let in "just enough". I think I am going to try mixing it with a long piece of re-bar. Now if it would just warm up so it can get good and hot.