Urban Compost Bin : CHECK

I did it! I’m making dirt in my little suburban back yard. Take that $4.99 bags of compost at home depot! Take that giant dump where all my non recyclable trash goes! Enjoy the lighter trash cans my trash man friend. This lady is makin’ some dirt, delicious dirt too.

Ok so I read through a TON of blogs, boards and tutorials and everyone has a different theory on how to do it. I compiled all the ideas I liked most and came up with the following:

Step 1: Get yourself a big trash can. The previous owners left this one so it was free for me. WOO HOO. Some tutorials call for a lid, a securing lid, or some other things. I used what I had. We’ll see if dirt comes out.

Step 2: Put said trash can on top of two cinder blocks (I actually had to buy these, less than $2 a piece). From everything I’ve read a good compost bin is determined by a good combo of green stuffs, brown stuffs, water, and air circulation. The cinder blocks help the air to circulated, also helps from critters gettin’ all up in there.

Step 3: POWER TOOLS! Drill holes…everywhere (bottom and all around the sides). I chose to go with a 3/8″ bit. Some tutorials called for 3″ and then installing screen so nothing falls out, that was a little too much for me so I went with a smaller bit and more holes.

Step 3: Fill the can with an equal amount of green and brown. Green things are your high nitrogen items, things like grass clippings, lettuce and food scraps etc. Brown things are your high carbon items, things like dried leaves, sawdust, straw etc. A healthy compost has a good balance of these items. It also helps it to keep from stinking (which is ideal in the urban setting).

Yes that is a pumpkin left over from halloween. I chopped it up with my shovel to help the tiny microorganisms eat it up faster.

Step 4: This is an optional step but I’d highly suggest it…add a bit of really good already decomposed compost. Sounds silly right, but it isn’t. By doing this you’re adding all those a formentioned microorganisms to your not decomposed compost. Basically you are jump starting the process. You can also add worms (which did today actually). They help too. BTW, here is a good guide for your greens and browns.

Step 5 (the ongoing step): Spritz it with some water (don’t soak) and keep it turning. You can turn it weekly with a shovel or a drill with a cement mixer bit (I like the drill option, feels powerful). Keep adding an equal amount of brown and green, and in no time at all we’ll have delicious dirt!

It is also helpful to have a black lab present, especially one with a flower petal on her nose. They’re good helpers and good moral support. )

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One Comment

  1. Bridgette Mongeon March 26, 2011 at 9:28 pm #

    So cool. Now you need a worm farm. Hmmm. Someone at the swap does them. Remember to pass the word. Then you can have worm poop as well!

    Oh yes, much better to mow over the leaves before hand.

    so much fun. Free dirt.