We all know about compost. It's important, perhaps the most important thing we do as gardeners for our plants. Organic matter is critical for plants to get nutrients. It's also extremely helpful as a waste disposal system. Rather than throw away your biodegradable wastes from the kitchen you can compost it and use it later for the garden. Composting makes a lot of sense.
There can be a lot of options when making a compost bin. You can go cheap and just make a pile in a corner of your yard, you can go fancy with a dual rotating bin composter, or you can go somewhere in between which is where I'm going for today's post. All my materials for this bin were furnished by Lowe's Creative Ideas (Blogger Network).
The compost bins I put together were very easy to assemble and look pretty nice too. I found some metal no dig fence panels at Lowe's for a little over $20 per pair that worked perfectly. The panels hook together at the corners with two hinges. Each corner can be staked in with the stakes provided. When you connect four of these panels together you can make a box perfect for a decorative compost bin! I bought 4 sets of these panels to make two bins and put them in my vegetable garden near my greenhouse.
These bins are very open which is great for oxygen and convenience. Microbes need oxygen to survive just like we do. One side can be opened completely when turning is needed to provide oxygen to the middle of the pile. While I haven't done this yet a perforated pipe can be installed in the middle of the bin to increase oxygen circulation. I laid down newspaper to help prevent any weeds from growing up into my compost bin.
Another huge advantage to bins like these is the size. I have a lot of yard waste that accumulates on our 1.3 acre lot. Weeds, pruned materials, and in the fall I collect tons of leaves for the compost bin. These bins can hold about 27 cubic feet of organic matter each. 54 cubic feet of potential gardeners gold! All they need is water, oxygen, and time to break down into usable materials.
What can you compost? Vegetable matter from kitchen waste, eggshells, coffee grounds, leaves, weeds (avoid weeds with seed heads already formed), cardboard, newspaper, and virtually any organic material. It is always recommended to avoid putting meat and diary byproducts in compost bins. They may attract animals. You should also avoid composting any diseased plant material. Many plant diseases can survive in the soil from year to year and will do the same in compost.
For other compost bin options you could use chicken wire wrapped around posts, pallets, cedar fencing materials, or buy a ready made compost turner. There are many options! Do you compost? What kind of bin do you use?