Setting up the new compost bin

Hello Dear Reader,


My worm farm has been happily chewing through our fruit and veggie scraps for years now but just lately I have had a glut of scraps that I have been digging into our postage stamp size veggie garden. Now there just isn't any more room for me to keep doing that so it was high time to invest in a compost bin.


So, last Sunday, at about 9 am, I hopped online and googled Gumtree for a compost bin. I couldn't believe my luck when I saw a brand new looking, compost bin for the crazy cheap price of $5.00 and even better it wasn't too far away from our home. So, half an hour drive later we picked up, a new to us, compost bin, in the pouring rain. Not that we were worried by a bit of rain, we just got the bargain of the century.


I have been doing a lot of reading on how to set up an effective compost bin. I really wanted one that sat on soil rather than one of those tumbler compost bins, as I have read that all the beneficial bacteria and of course the earth worms will enter the compost bin and weave their magic when the compost bin sits on open soil. I have read about the ratio of 1 part green to 2 parts brown and I hope I have done it right. I haven't turned it over yet, I will let it sit for a week and the give it a good stir over next weekend.


So, from what I have gleaned this is what I should and should not be doing to achieve sensational compost


DO

1. Layer with 1 part green to 2 parts brown and break down any large pieces

Green

fruit and veggie scraps
fresh grass clippings
coffee grounds, tea leaves and tea bags
manure from cows, sheep or chicken
egg shells

Brown

tissues and newspaper
drier lint
egg cartons
cardboard 
dead leaves and branches
sugarcane mulch


2.Water in-between each layer

3.Turn the compost regularly

4. Repeat


Don't

Add-
meat or bones
fats or cooking oils
dairy products
waste from domestic pets
weeds or diseased plants
garden waste that is contaminated with herbicides or pesticides 


Don't let the compost become too wet or too dry


The compost will be ready when it resembles healthy soil and smells like earth. Wish me luck


To fit the compost bin in, I removed the spent chia, amaranth and one of the pumpkin vines. Unfortunately every time a pumpkin would start growing it would shrivel and fall off, this pumpkin vine came up by itself and looked healthy enough but as it wasn't producing pumpkins, out it came.


I have used lucerne and sugar cane mulch for the "brown" part as I didn't have enough brown stuff laying around the yard.



All I have left now in my little veggie garden is my lime tree, my one last healthy Red Paw Paw tree, a robust rosemary plant, a struggling strawberry runner that has come from somewhere (maybe next door), a pumpkin vine that I have re-trained down the left hand side of the garden and a newly acquired cutting of lemon grass from Morag at Our Permaculture Life, oh and of course the compost bin. I won't plant anything else for a while now, I will just concentrate on making the best compost I can. 

I have read conflicting reports about using junk mail/catalogues in the compost bin, has any one used junk mail for the "brown" part of the ratio? Any suggestions for how I can "do it better" are more than welcomed. 

Have a lovely day.



5 comments

  1. I have that style of compost bin, and I can report that they work well!

    I wouldn't get too hung up on the ratios's of everything, I just put what I've got in, when I've got it, and the magic is that everything rots eventually. (Don't get me wrong, the ratio's speed up the process, but don't fret if you haven't got quite enough brown) Could you collect newspapers from your place of work and shred them to make up your brown? I do sometimes.

    If you've got a spare $20 one day I would highly recommend you buy yourself a "compost turner" (I don't know what their actual name is) I had seen them, but never owned one, and struggled on with a garden fork, I finally bit the bullet and bought one from Bunnings, and it was the best investment I've ever made! I would describe it as a corkscrew. You screw it down into your compost, and lift it out, and it aerates the mix beautifully, it is so easy to use.

    I love making compost, it's like magic seeing it turn from scraps to soil! Happy composting!!! :)

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    Replies
    1. Thankyou so much Cheryl, that's great info. I just ordered some Bunnings gift cards from our visa rewards points, I will definitely be buying one of these corkscrew thing-y bobbies to turn the compost heap. I am not very strong and the thought of trying to turn the compost over with the heavy garden fork didn't appeal to me. Have a lovely day.
      Fi

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  2. My tip is to use your nose! You'll know if the ratios are out if it becomes too smelly/stinky. If it does, it may well need more "brown" material and shredded newspaper would be fine to rebalance it. Meg:)

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  3. What a great find!

    I have four compost bins on the go. I am still learning how to get it right. It takes a bit of trial and error, but the compost has been good enough to use in my garden beds, so I am happy with that. I need to add more green matter to mine (hard to get hold of around this place). Plenty of brown matter though.

    I agree with Cheryl, those turning tools are a great investment :)

    Good luck!

    xTania

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    Replies
    1. Hi Tania,
      Yes, the bargain of the year, I think! $5.00, I am so excited to start on the road to making compost. Have a lovely day, Tania.
      Fi

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