Outdoor composting

If it’s not obvious, I love composting. So much so that in addition to composting kitchen scraps with the worm bin, I’ve started composting yard waste (leaves, grass clippings, hedge cuttings, weeds) with a simple outdoor compost bin. IMG_20160128_172315

All this greenery is typically considered part of a homeowner’s trash, but with a little help it will transform into a garden’s treasure in a few months. This heterogenous heap will look like a mound of soil when it’s all done composting, and I can use it as fertilizer and mulch for my plants.

Why do I have a separate worm bin and outdoor compost bin? The three main reasons are pests, space and convenience. I compost kitchen scraps in the worm bin rather that in an outdoor pile so as not to attract rogue critters. Also, the yard wastes are too big and bountiful to fit in my worm bin. Lastly, I can keep each compost bin closest to their food sources: worm bin near the kitchen and yard waste bin in the yard.

Here’s how I made my outdoor bin:

Materials

  • Roll of 3 ft x 25 ft welded wire
  • Metal cutters
  • Four 3 ft long U-post stakes,
  • Zip ties
  • 3 ft long plant stake or rod

Instructions

  1. Using metal cutters, cut out four 3 ft x 3 ft squares of welded wire (I used the 3 ft long U-post stakes to measure). These squares will be the sides of the compost bin.IMG_20160109_140310
  2. Mark out a 3 ft x 3 ft square on the ground where the bin will be located. Stake a U-post at each corner.
  3. Position a wire square upright between two U-posts and zip tie both sides to the posts. Do this for three of the squares, reserving the fourth square. So far, the setup should have three walls with an opening (where the “door” will be).
  4. With the last wire square (the door), weave the garden stake (or rod) through one side. This will keep the door straight for opening and closing.
  5. Position the door at the opening of the bin and tie the free side (without the stake woven through) to a U-post with zip ties. IMG_20160109_155349IMG_20160109_155322Just fill with yard waste and cover the pile with a big piece of scrap cardboard to keep it moist.
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