Composting experts say to
keep putting vegetable
scraps in the bin for a few days. Then, when the peels extend over the whole bin
to a depth of 4 to six inches, to cover it all with
a layer of dirt.
not what I do. It results in hordes of fruit flies.
method is to put the scraps into the bin (as in the photo at left), chop
them up with the sharpened shovel blade, then
immediately cover them with earth (as in the photo at right). Not a
lot of earth, just enough to cover the
"Sharpened shovel blade" needs emphasis. A few seconds with a file sharpens the
front of the shovel to where it lets us cut larger pieces into smaller ones. Makes a big difference.
the scraps right away looks better. Most important, it keeps flies and odor at bay.
where will we get the earth to cover those veggies? Eventually Ė in only one summer
- weíll have
plenty of our own, created by our composting, but until then, we have to use bags
of topsoil or composted manure from the big-box stores.
just stack the bags of dirt near our compost bins. I keep an old broken knife
out there to cut open the plastic bags.
experts say to always ensure our bins have a natural depression in the
middle to catch rain water. Am not saying that's wrong, but the natural tendency is
for the bin to be higher in the center, and it's hard to win that fight. I just throw the new veggies
Keeping our compost
moist is important when it's not raining. K
eep a hose or watering can
to try is a 4-ft length of 2Ē PVC pipe (in the plumbing section).
large holes throughout the length of the pipe. With a hacksaw, cut one end at a
sharp angle to make it easier to pound into the ground. Pound the pipe down the middle of
the bin when the pile is starting to be formed. The opening at the top of
the pipe lets some rain and a lot of oxygen down into the center of the pile. At
least thatís the theory. I donít know if it really works, but I usually use it.
When I donít, the compost turns out pretty well anyway.
experts say to add ordinary 10-10-10 fertilizer to the bin to help the bacterial action,
but this is something else I never do.
Likewise, the compost additives we see at the stores are also optional, and I've
never used them.
we put leaves in our compost bin, they should - maybe must - be shredded first.
Otherwise they take forever to decompose. (Don't ask me how I know this.)
might also want to put red wriggler worms in our bins. I would except that
my dear wife is phobic about worms, so I don't. But it's sure something for
you to consider.
this is important: we don't want to put into our bins anything not in the vegetable or fruit
families. No meat, no bones, no dairy products, no cooking oils. I've put in ashes from the
barbecue, but that was for the lime, and that was stretching it.
Compost bins are for plants and veggies only.
next: Why two bins