Hey hey, ladies and gents! Today is DAY #1 of the Home Grown Food Summit, 2017. We will be attending virtually from the comfort of our home and are already 30 minutes into our first lecture provided by the Homegrown Food Summit. Check out Amy Landers, Solving Your Composting Challenges lecture; it’s what inspired this post!
To keep along with the Homegrown Food Summit, we will be attempting to blog every day until the end of the summit over topics that have peaked our interest. That’s seven total articles for you to read and share at your heart’s content. As we learn along with you, we will also promote examples of great permaculture and organic systems that might work for folks wanting to build a backyard garden, like us! We encourage you to do your own research to ensure that these systems work for you. We’re going to be experimenting as well, ’cause it’s okay to learn is from our mistakes! So, for day one, we’re going to discuss our top 3 preferred composting bins for a backyard garden, listed in no particular order.
A little about compost: compost is decaying organic matter made up of “greens” and “browns”, as well as a plethora of fungi, bacteria and tiny organisms. “Greens” are veggie and fruit scraps that you add to your compost and provide nitrogen to the compost. “Browns” are dry leaves, hay and straw, grass and shredded paper which add much needed carbon material to the bin. Eating this mixture up are bacteria, fungi, tiny bugs and earthworms which helps make a more nutrient rich mixture. Once spread on gardens, compost boosts plant growth and retains water in the soil. If you have trash soil, or soil that is absolutely awful to work with, we highly recommend you make and use your own compost and avoid using such a terrible resource. Anybody can compost, even college students living in tiny dorms. I know, I did it while I was still in school, fellow literary arts majors.
To learn more about compost, click the following link: Planet Natural — Composting 101
Static box composting bin: The more popular method for backyard composting, static box bins come in many sizes and are easy to place out of the way in some corner. These bins are easy to fill due to their wide openings and can hold a great deal depending on their size. Air exchange can be good or bad, depending on the frequency of compost turning and how the bin was built. Box bins can be made out of plastic, wood, and even cattle panels. Using wire panels and pallets encourage air exchange in your compost, which is very important if you want your organic matter to break down. These bins are also affordable and easy to make out of free or recycled lumber. However, because the bin is static, you will be responsible in spraying your composting materials and turning it by hand.
Interested? Check out the build instructions provided by Hobby Farm City: How to Build a Compost Bin from Wooden Pallets
Tumbler composting bin: We invested in one of these and I gotta admit, I’m really digging this system. Tumblers sit on stands and usually have a sliding door where you add compost into the chamber. After spraying down your material, you close the door and spin the tumbler. This mixes your compost for you and easy to dump ready-to-use compost into a wheelbarrow. The water that drain out of the compost can be diluted a bit more and used to water your plants. It’s not as great as worm tea, which is made from waste water from worm bins, but it does its job well enough. This system is semi-closed with some air exchange coming from the draining holes. However, it does not do as well as the box bin, so your compost might break down more slowly.
Interested? Check out the build instructions provided by The Crunchy Housewife: How to Make a Compost Tumbler (Fast, Cheap and Easy)
Worm bins: These are great for apartment folks. Worm bins are compact, easy to conceal under sinks, and a great means to get rid of kitchen scraps. Worm bins create compost, worm scat which plants love, and worm tea which is a great fertilizer. Worm boxes can be made out of plastic and wood. Plastic buckets and containers are favorite for DIYers because the bins are cheap to buy. As you can see in the gif on the left, Texas Dad uses plastic buckets for his bins. Recommended worms are red worms and earthworms. Worm bins can actually produce endless generations of earthworms for your garden. As they breed and multiply in the compost, you can take some of those wrigglers and add them to your garden. This will provide added nutrition from worm scat and natural tilling in the soil from those little guys tunneling their days away.
Interested? Check out the build instructions provided by The Texas Boys: DIY Vermicompost Bin for less than $10
Try out one of these bins and if anything, you’ll be able to reduce your food waste by a good amount and convert it to “black gold” as Justin Rhodes likes to call it. As always, be kind and tender to one another.
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