Making a Compost Bin

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I love the snow and the cold for Christmas, but I am a warm weather girl. I love to garden and just get out of the house on a sunny day.

I know it's probably too early to start thinking about planting a garden, but its not too early to start tending to the soil so the seeds will have a better chance at growing.  What am I talking about??  Compost!

I used to just have someone plow up a small area for me to use as a garden and then I would plant a few plants, hoe (very little). In two months time, I would go out and start to harvest the fruits of my labor. Not!!!   The only thing that I harvested was weeds.  People used to make fun of my garden because I went searching for any little veggie I could find and then I would make over like it was the last one of its kind.

Now, I am still not an expert on gardening, but I have learned a few tricks along the way and am having fun. That's what gardening is all about!  You have to enjoy what you are doing and take time to watch the fruits of your (and God's) labor. If something doesn't grow the way I think it should have, I just pull it up, throw it into my compost bin and plant something else if there is still time in the season.

You can use almost anything for a compost bin. I paid $2 for a wooden box (3'x4′) at Menards last year.  It was a wooden crate that they received stone blocks in.  There was one sitting empty, and with me, I  ask for everything.  So, they sold me this wooden crate for just $2 – I couldn't believe it!  This now serves as my compost bin.

There are loads and loads of web sites that you can go to, to find out how to build your own as shown in Square Foot Gardening.  You can also consider subscribing to Mother Earth News. This magazine has lots of useful gardening information.

Last year, my garden space served as a compost area. I had to go out with a shovel to rake and turn/stir it every 2 or 3 days, but it paid off.  I will still have to turn/stir the compost in the crate, but I don't mind.  Having the compost in some kind of container keeps the animals away from it.  You can even use plastic trash cans.  Just cut a few holes in it for ventilation and keep a tight fitting lid on it.

Any time of the year is good to start a compost bin. The best time to start is early spring though.  You will need a small container for your kitchen scraps.  I use a large coffee can. When the can gets full, I take it outside to empty into the bin and stir it a little.

List of Items to Compost

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Eggshells
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Nut Shells
  • Tea Bags
  • Potato skins
  • Cardboard rolls
  • Clean Paper
  • Dryer and Vacuum cleaner lint
  • Fireplace Ashes
  • Cotton and Wool Rags
  • Hair and Fur
  • House Plants (wait until they are dead)
  • Shredded Newspaper
  • The old stand-by: Cow and Horse manure
  • Hay and Straw
  • Sawdust
  • Wood Chips
  • Yard Trimmings and Leaves

Just layer each of these in your compost bin and turn over on a regular basis. By the time you are ready to start a garden, you can have enriched compost to use!

List of Items that are NOT appropriate to Compost

  • Black Walnut Trees, any kind
  • Charcoal (used in a grill)
  • Dairy Products (they create odor problems and attract pests)
  • Diseased or insect ridden plants
  • Fats, Grease, Lard, Oil (odor and pest problems)
  • Meat scraps
  • Pet Wastes
  • Yard Trimmings, chemically treated

Hopefully, you will follow me as I make plans to plant the garden.  I do have a small greenhouse that I usually plant in, so I will take you along for the journey if you want to go.

As the weeks turn into warmer days, I will give you ideas and tricks to make planting you garden, no matter how large or small an adventure that you will enjoy all year round. I will also be sharing a few recipes so you have ideas for how to use up all that is growing in your garden!

by Savings Lifestyle: Andrea on April 18, 2011

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