Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Easy Composting Bin from Garbage Can

It's something I've been doing my whole life. My Grandfather got me involved.  My mother and father were fans. Now it's just part of life - yup, that save the earth trend of composting.
We have always taken all grass clippings, leaves, and plant food scraps and put them into compost in our yard. Then each spring and fall it gets rototilled into the vegetable garden, and that soil also gets dispersed around the yard.  Over the years it's really helped improve the soil (and the crops!)  in addition to reducing the amount of trash.  Then, our village recently increased their attention to our "compost pile" and despite the best intentions, some neighbors were complaining that it was unsightly.  So rather than pay for yard waste bags and stickers, we sought a creative and frugal outlet. 
We already had one container and had previously tried a tumbler without success.  I never did tumble the materials - so that was not a good investment.  Some of the containers are so fancy and expensive.   I readily admit that I am not savvy in the ways of composting.  I just put stuff in, it rots, I use it ;)  My dad had a compost container made out of wire stretched around large cement blocks.  He never turned it or minded it much at all, and that worked just fine. I know that I'm not doing this the best way - but it gets the job done, and we don't have to get fancy.  Looking around for raw materials - we immediately thought of two large garbage container that the village had deemed too large for use.  Eureka - we made our own compost bins from recycled garbage cans!

Making Holes for Air Flow - July 2011
 One thing to keep in mind is that as the plant matter starts to decay it will generate heat and moisture.  Here you can see we are putting holes in the bottom of the container to allow moisture to drain out.  I think there is probably a balance between wanting it to drain and not to dry out.  I'll have to see how that goes.
Finished Garbage Can Compost Bin
This is the final garbage can compost bin - we ended up putting about 100 holes around all side and on the bottom.  I like that this container is on wheels, which will help us get the compost to the garden.  We also considered just cutting the bottom off the garbage can all together. I think if we do fill this up with compost it might be too darn heavy to tip over. We can always make that adjustment next year if we need to do so. 
Store bought Bin, and new re-purposed bin ready for duty.


We hid the second container on the side of our yard and will use that one exclusively for grass cuttings and other yard waste. It is tucked up behind some honeysuckle and big hostas, so I'm hoping that our neighbors of the city don't mind too much.

Today I'm singing something trashy! LOL

Any advice let me know!

Teresa Marie