Thursday, 21 July 2016

Home Made Compost Bins

I am in a bit of a building frenzy at the moment.

John Seymour in his excellent 'The New Complete Book of Self Sufficiency' says that :

'nothing should be wasted on the self-sufficient holding. The dustman should never have to call'.

While zero waste is probably never going to realistically happen for us, I hope that as we start to produce our own vegetables, the amount of waste packaging we produce will fall (why do supermarkets pre-pack EVERYTHING fresh!). We recycle all glass, cardboard, plastic bottles and paper. Composting is a no-brainer for kitchen and garden waste.

We have a couple of old compost heaps built by the previous owner  but they only contain grass clippings and the remains of a hornbeam hedge. Neither is likely to rot to anything useful without being mixed with some more 'fleshy' material and something to activate the decomposition process. And - they are full. So I plan to gradually mix the contents of the existing heap into two new heaps over the course of the next year.

A trip to our local industrial estate this evening  yielded eight pallets. Don't be afraid to ask, the two places I tried were only too happy to help.

I arranged them into two conjoined squares and screwed the back and sides with some long wood screws (the blocks within the pallets are perfect for this).

The fronts need to come off for easy turning and to retrieve the finished compost, so I attached these with cable ties, which I can snip off for easy access when the time comes.

I don't think they look too bad and they only cost the price of the screws and cable ties, which I had already.

Very satisfying to add the first waste scraps. I did a 'poo pick' of the chicken run and came back with half a bucket. Not something I would want to have to do all the time, but it really is great stuff to get the decomposition process going.

I later added a thin layer of grass clippings. For now any new clippings we produce will have to go in the council bin, until we have incorporated the backlog. It is such a large space that otherwise we would never get the balance of nitrogen (grass) to carbon (paper, straw, woody plant waste) right which a compost bin needs to rot successfully.

It has been absolutely beautiful here in the bright sunshine, which has continued until nine o'clock each evening, although it does make doing anything remotely active a bit of a slog.

Apparently a storm is on the way today to cool us all off a bit.

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