Tag Archives: compost bin

Bottomless pit composter?… or just a lot of grubs?

I thought i was overdue on starting my second trash can composter… the first one has had a bottomless pit for the last few months.

I was certain it would have been at capacity awhile ago, but then I took a closer look.

Not only were there a ton of red wigglers in there breaking it down, but also gobs and gobs of grubs- excellent!

They’ve been a huge help for sure- the pile has been steadily cooking along at a mellow 80 to 90 degrees since its inception, which wouldn’t be hot enough to break down the contents so swiftly.

Once the temperature drops a bit more, I’m going to try transferring as many of the worms over to the big pile as I can…hoping that it’s thick enough to insulate them through the winter- we’ll see!

An indicator of a working compost pile… worms!

Looks like the trash can composter is doing well- red wigglers are reproducing here, meaning the environment is hospitable for them.

I water mine once a week (half a watering can) after I add my food scraps and cover with leaves.

A dry compost pile has a hard time working- keep it damp and you’ll keep it moving… and keep the worms around, too.

How to Build a Trash Can Composter with a Door

I made another trash can composter today- this time with a nice door upgrade.  What for?

Now that my first composter is filled up, it’s going to be tedious to empty out the finished compost 6 months from now.  With the door at the bottom, I hope to remove the finished material much easier.

All in all, the project cost me less than $30 and about an hour of work… better yet, it was a cinch to make.

I picked a trash can that had a relatively flat side so it would be easier to attach hinges flush to the surface.

Here’s a close-up of the door at the bottom:

To build the door, I drilled the holes for all three hinges and screwed them in place first (don’t mount the washers and nuts yet).

Second, I used a boxcutter to cut out the door…I made it a good 10″ tall to give my hand some clearance to fish around and remove finished compost.

Next, I threaded the nuts on the screws on each of the hinges and tightened them down.

Finally, I used a 3/16″ bit to drill aeration holes on all sides of the bin plus the lid.

Clean up and dispose all of the plastic shavings from the inside and the outside.

That’s it!

Now you’re ready to divert organic materials from the landfill-  Feels good, doesn’t it?

Equipment List:

-Phillips head screwdriver
-Drill
-3/16″ drill bit for ventilation holes
-Socket wrench (or adjustable wrench)
-2 hinges
-1 latch
-Nylon insert lock nuts
-Lock washers
-Stainless steel screws

Here’s a video I made to show you how to add materials to the bin:

Cheers!

Compost Bins: Drill Holes in the Lid?

Yes.

I didn’t drill holes in mine for a while because I just left the lid off, resembling my larger sized cubic yard compost bins.

However, using a lid with plenty of holes can offer the same benefits- good airflow and it allows rainwater to penetrate, too.

Now that it’s summer, compost systems need more moisture to work effectively… keep them damp, and if you want to use a lid, drill holes to contain the process without hampering it.

How to Build the Ultimate Compost Bin (Rodale’s Organic Life)

http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/how-to-build-compost-bin

Check the link above for a semi-technical three-bin design that will result in the most hassle-free composting there is.  If I had the space for a three-bin system, I’d be on it in an instant.

In other words, when you work with large bins, there’s much more room for error as opposed to a worm system or composting with a pair of trash cans.

The only aspect of this design that I deviate from is the process itself- I don’t turn compost at all, so I’d just keep the middle bin full of cover materials, add to the first bin for up to a year using cover materials from the middle bin, then work on the third bin when the first is at capacity.

 

Composting in the Winter

It’s that time of year where the emails start coming in to ask how to keep composting through the winter.  While it takes some up-front effort, it is possible.

If you’ve already lost all the heat in the pile, keep adding to it until it can’t get any bigger.  Once the temperatures rise just enough for the process to get going again, it will.

That’s the bright side of those days we have each year in the winter where it’s 60 degrees for no apparent reason.

Collect as many bags of leaves as you can, since this will be your insulation and cover material throughout the winter.  I slacked off this year, but still managed to shred a few bags’ worth.

Now’s the time where covering your pile with a hefty layer of straw makes a HUGE difference in keeping the heat in.

When you go outside to the pile each week to empty your food scraps, be as quick as you can… you can watch the steam coming off the pile and the temperature will drop quickly.  Once the temperature drops off, it’s hard to bring it back.

So there you have it- bundle up the bin, or work with worms inside the house.

How to Cut Your Trash in Half by Skipping One TV Episode Per Week

Tyler's-Dirty-Little-Composting-Secrets-Cover

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Tyler's Dirty Little Composting Secrets
Tyler's Dirty Little Composting Secrets
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Tyler