So if you read yesterday’s post, then you know that we are trying to embrace our greener side! Not only for the planet at large but also for purely selfish reasons – we’re hoping to bring our weeded out backyard grass back from the brink of destruction by trying our hands at composting! Yes, this is a pretty extreme measure on our parts and not necessarily for everyone, so we are putting ourselves out there as the potential guinea pigs and if it works out, then you should definitely give it a shot. If it doesn’t….well….not to be deterred, we could always buy the Darth Vader Composter from Portland Metro.
We did some research online and realized that since we have a pretty small yard, a larger scale “pile” just wouldn’t work out for us (and it also sounded too complicated and hard-core), but a smaller-scale “Worm Bin” might actually do us some good! And not only that, but we could make one out of items we had laying around the house!
Step 1: Buy or recycle a large plastic bin with a tight fitting lid – this helps keep unwanted neighbors out of your bin (rats, raccoons, etc.). We happened to have one lying around that didn’t fit into any of our closets and so we couldn’t really use it. Cost? FREE!:
Step 2: Drill at least 6-10 small holes on the bottom of the bin for aeration:
Step 3: Drill holes on the sides of the bin (again, about 6-10 per side), about 2/3-3/4 of the way up the bin (you don’t want your compost to fall out of the sides). Then you also need to drill holes in the lid as well:
Step 4: Then it’s time to load up the bin with bedding! You could use shredded newspapers, brown paper bags, dead leaves (now is the perfect time to score a bunch of those for most people!), cardboard, sawdust, peat moss. We didn’t have newspaper or leaves, but we did have a bunch of grocery bags. Fill up your bin about 1/4 full:
Step 5: Now if we had useful dirt in our backyard, we could’ve just used that, but this is the essence of composting for us right now – we simply have the world’s worst dirt! So we did actually purchase two bags of dirt from Home Depot and threw that on top to get a nice mixture going. Cost: $6! You need to fill it up with dirt until it is about 1/2 full:
Step 6: At this point, you’re ready to start composting! A whole slew of things can be composted, but never, EVER put any dairy, meat, fish, or anything fatty into your Compost bin – it’ll stink and attract critters. We had some leftover kitchen scraps from dinner last night, so that’s what we used. Maggie monitoring is optional:
Step 7: Be sure to give your dirt a stir or else you’ll get a whole slew of Fruit Flies which we all know are the biggest pains in the arses! You can actually use the same technique that we used to trap them (the vinegar trap) and place it inside the bin if it becomes a problem. Also, give your compost just a little squirt of water (not too much) so that it feels like a “wrung out sponge”:
Step 8: Put the lid on top and if you’re worried about critters (like I am), then just put a few heavy planters on top to (hopefully) keep them away. Then stash your compost in a shady spot in your yard, out of direct sunlight, and away from the house. Once the hubs gets home this evening, we will be moving it to the Northeast corner of the yard where it’s a little out of the way:
So there ya have it! An (almost) free Compost Bin! Since it is called a “Worm Bin”, we are now on the hunt for a few willing worms (which can be found locally through some internet sleuthing). I’m sure we will update with that disgusting bit of trivia when we get the opportunity ;-). Until then, we’re still cooking and keeping scraps stored in a bag in the refrigerator until we can find a suitable Compost Pail.
Ok, our experiment begins! And since we only spent $6 on the whole thing, I don’t feel the least bit bad about potentially screwing the whole thing up! Wish us luck and we will give you updates as they become available!