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Building a Backyard Compost Bin
Composting is a simple and effective way to produce your own nutrient-rich soil for all your home gardening needs. Additionally, it provides an easy way to significantly reduce on the amount of trash your household produces on a daily basis.
There are hundreds of different options for creating a compost bin, but the following step-by-step guide from WikiHow is a simple, cheap solution that should only cost you around $10-$20.
- Recycle or purchase a plastic bin with a tight fitting lid approximately 24 inches or more taller. The purpose of this container will be to contain your compost, keep the soil moist and keep any animals or pests out who may want to sample your amazing mixture.
- Drill 8-10 small holes in the bottom of your container for aeration purposes. You can also drill some holes on the side of the container as well if you wish.
- Place some shredded leaves and/or newspaper at the bottom of your container, filling it approx. 1/8-1/4 full.
- Place dirt from your garden (or you can use potting soil if you live in an urban environment/area of poor soil) and fill container to 1/2 full.
- Place your compost bin in a partially shaded area away from your home in the backyard. If you live in an apartment or condo simply use your patio. If your compost bin is in direct sunlight the entire day it will likely dry out, so partial shade is preferred.
- Now, place any food scraps or paper products into compost such as fruit, vegetables, crushed egg shells, paper towels, etc. For an extensive list of items you can compost see here.
- Give your compost a stir ensuring that your food scraps are covered by the dirt.
- Spray with water until moist, but not soaking wet.
- Drill 8-10 holes on the bin lid
- Place a lid on the compost. Every other day you add food scraps to your bin you should give it a stir. Mixing the compost will help breakdown the scraps faster.
- Wait 2 - 3 months to use your compost.
Compost can be used as mulch to cover flower beds, as potting soil and sprinkled over your grass as a lawn conditioner. Don't use it all though, save at least 1/3 of your original compost and then you can start all over again.
Items You Can Compost
People are often amazed at just how much you can compost. In general it is recommended to keep a ratio of half "brown" items to half "green" items by weight. The following are a few things you can compost, but the list is by no means exhaustive. Feel free to add your own.
- Brown Items - high in carbon
- dead leaves
- wood chips
- leftover potting soil
- coffee filters
- tea bags
- Green Items - high in nitrogen
- grass clippings
- coffee grounds
- banana peels
- apple cores
- melon rinds
- egg shells
- vegetable scraps
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