If you haven’t already got one, now is a fabulous time of year for making your own compost bin. It’s extremely easy and will give you the most fantastic sense of achievement when it comes to nourishing your soil next Spring.
A few weeks ago, I decided to make my own compost bin after reading various books on the subject. I wanted to use recycled materials readily available to me and after a little routing around I found some old plywood, that my very kind neighbour then spliced into four pieces using his chainsaw. Although plywood isn’t recommended for longevity it is perfect for the structure I wanted to create.
Measurements on this don’t need to be exact, but as a general rule of thumb, the average household usually generates enough material for a compost bin a metre squared.
Once I had my general box shape, I lined the base and sides with straw. On top of this, I added wood shavings and chicken poo from the bottom of my hen-house, and then a layer of windfall apples that were too rotten for my pigs to eat. Next, we added grass cuttings raked from the lawn. Our final job was to water all the contents with a watering can so it was damp, but not saturated, to help with the decomposition process Many gardeners also add urine to their heap to act as an accelerant.
Since then we’ve added tea bags, melon rinds, eggs shells, fruit, vegetables, leaves, plus rotting salad and cucumber, and none woody items from our vegetable patch. To bulk it out you can also shred old cardboard and add manure as long as it’s from a grain-feeding animal such as a chicken.
It’s very important never to add meat, eggs and dairy products – save these for your wormery instead.
We’re renting at the moment so my current bin is just a temporary solution. However, if you require something more long lasting my top favourite products are:
The tumbling compost bin acclerates the whole composting process producing compost in an amazing 21 days. For the Rolls Royce of compost bins I think it’s very difficult to beat Archwood for its beauty and classic design. I’m also fascinated by the Original Organics wormery. This company are at the cutting edge of wormery design turning cooked and uncooked food leftovers, loo roll tubes, egg boxes and paper towel into rich compost and excellent feed.
Happy composting and good luck!!!
PS Since the photo was taken I’ve subsequently made a lid for my bin!