A compost bin doesn't need to take up a lot of space and it doesn't have to be an expensive, complicated project. You can create a mini compost bin that will be compact enough to fit in the corner of a small yard or on a deck or balcony. A mini compost bin will produce enough nutrient-rich compost to nourish several plants.
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Things you need
- Plastic bin with secure lid
- Sharp knife or drill
- Dry compost
- Wet compost
- Shovel or trowel
Purchase a plastic bin with a securely fitting lid. Wash the bin with hot, soapy water and rinse thoroughly. The size of the container depends on your needs and your available space, but a container at least 16 inches in diameter will allow enough room to prepare a small amount of compost.
Use a sharp knife or a drill to make several holes along the perimeter of the plastic bin's lid. Space the holes fairly evenly, with about 3 to 4 inches between each hole. Each hole should be 1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter.
Make a cluster of eight to 10 holes about 1 inch apart and 1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter in the centre of the lid. It may be helpful to mark the spots with a permanent marker first. Cut four 1/4-inch drainage holes on the bottom of the bin so that water can drain, with one hole located near each corner.
Fill the bin about one-half to two-thirds full with dry matter such as dry, chopped leaves, pine needles, sawdust, dry grass clippings or shredded paper or brown paper bags.
Place wet material on top of the dry material. Wet material can include vegetable and fruit matter, green grass clippings, corn husks, nut shells, coffee ground or tea bags.
Allow the compost to develop for about a month, then stir the mixture with a shovel or trowel. Continue stirring the compost every three to four weeks for six to nine months, or until the compost is ready. When the compost is ready, it will be dark and crumbly and will have a rich, earthy aroma.
Tips and warnings
- Consider planting a rosemary plant near your compost bin. The rosemary will look nice, and if your compost begins to develop a smell, you can toss a bit of rosemary clippings on top of the compost.
- Things to avoid in your mini compost bin include bones, meat, dairy products, oil and junk foods. Never put animal waste in your compost bin, especially if you plan to use the compost in your vegetable or herb garden.
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