What is the best and easiest way to compost if you don't have a bin? Can I just make an area in the yard somewhere? I also heard that too many leaves and things like that are acidic? Is this true.
Please help all you gardening experts
diva , you dont need bin at all , you just make a heap anywhere and get a wide tined pitch fork (which has like 1/2" wide tines on it as opposed to the round pointy ones used for pitching straw) and keep turning your heap over as often as you like (its good exercise) to promote decomposistion . and leaves can make heap acidic which shall make your resulting compost too acidic for many types of plants to healthfully grow in . to bring the compost back towards an alkaline state you can throw pellitized lime on it which is only about $5 for 40 lb bag . you can also put wood ashes on it to help nuetralize acidity . and a good thing ive found to speed up decomposistion is to every so often throw a layer of soil on top of heap , i think it holds in heat which speeds up the process . and a suggestion i have is alot of times your preparing food and end up with scraps for heap but its deep snow on ground or raining or your in pj's etc and thusly dont want to walk out to heap so its good to have a lidded small garbage can right outside back door that you can just reach out and dump your scraps into til can take to heap . and some people put up a little picket fence on a couple sides of heap to camo it from being unsightly . goodday :)
Talk to the Pea Patch folks
I see you are in Seattle. They have probably the best urban gardening network anywhere, with Pea Patch garden spots located all over the area that people without their own gardens can use for growing food and flowers. And they have all kinds of classes with all kinds of experts who answer questions and teach classes. Thay always do classes on how to compost, where you can learn how to get the right mix of leaves and branches with produce waste, when to aerate, what NOT to compost, etc. I highly recommend you call them.
Originally Posted by divaitalia
Also, I don't know if it is still done, but when I was living there the city was giving away free compost bins evey year to encourage people to compost at home, and not put compostables in the garbages. Dunno if they still do that, but you could ask. Yoy don't NEED a bin to compost, but it helps to keep things neet, control odor, and keep away the critters that might look on your compost pile as a buffet dinner.
Love, love, love,
- Shivananda Deva
This is great info guys, thanks so much. I just have so much from eating all the fruits and veggies I hate to waste it.
Hi, you might also consider getting a worm bin for all the kitchen scraps. I'm just starting to learn about them. ..Vermicomposting... Some people even have them right in their kitchen!
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Seattle sounds like the promised land!
Here in the great state of Alabama (on the coast), we have issues getting our regular garbage picked up on time! I can't imagine having a city government that encourages composting! Here we have *one* place to recycle, and you can't even recycle your plastic garbage bags there (which is why we've bought mesh reusable ones). Thanks for the tips on composting-- it's something that DH and I have talked about starting, now that I have so much produce peels, etc. left over after eating.
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the only real problem of composting without a bin is critters getting in there, so if that's not an issue, go for it. You can also get some chicken wire/hardware cloth type stuff and make a simple ring to hold it in a pile if you want. Some cities and towns also subsidize the cost of a composter, that's how it is here, I think they're about $20.
There is also a technique called sheet composting or trench composting where you basically just dig a trench or hole right in your garden, and bury the produce scraps, then let the soil bacteria go to work on it. It's great for the soil. Generally there aren't really critter problems with fruit and veggie scraps, you get more into those if you put eggshells and maybe some animal products in there.
For really good composting, you want to balance your "greens"(=high nitrogen) and "browns" (= high carbon), basically all kitchen scraps and grass clippings are green (even if they're brown LOL), and stuff like leaves and sawdust is brown. Odor is really NOT a problem at all, if you keep the pile well aerated (you can stir it with a shovel or pitchfork). Composting also still works even without the balance of green and brown, just a little slower perhaps.
Composting is an excellent thing to do for enviromental reasons, diverting all that from landfills and the costs of trucking it, and enhancing the nutrients in your soil. It is really ridiculous when you think about it to send fruit and veggies to landfill sites.
Our town offers "urban composting" where it will pick up your compost stuff separately and compost it for you, then annually they have a big compost giveaway where gardeners come and load up. They provided each citizen with two nice containers for collecting the stuff, biodegradable bags, etc.
Dragggon just digs a hole, and dumps in our veggies and fruit trash, then covers it up, then the next day puts more in covers, puts more in covers, etc, until it is a little mound, then he digs a hole next to it, he just moves it around our yard, and then in about one year, he has great compost!!!
or he plants something on top of it, it's really easy to do, no bin necessary at all
now, we ONLY compost veggie scraps and fruit scraps,
we don't use eggs, or cheese or meat or anything like that.
Oh, yes, we also compost yard debree, like parts of pruned bushes, leaves grass clippings, (we let the lawn mowing part lay on the grass) but the grass that we cut out of the lake, we put on the compost pile.
We compost without a bin. We just built a small area in back of our garage and bought that chicken type plastic fencing and bought 4 wooden stacks and stapled the fencing to the posts and whalla...compost bin ! We do get critters though, although I don't mind. I think someone is living in my detached garage now and he has dug a hole next to the compost pile and under the garage to get in. We haven't seen who he is yet though. I'm thinking either a really big mouse or a groundhog. But the other day he seemed to be in our little boat in the garage. Do groundhogs make homes in boats ??!!
Anyway, bin or not, its really easy just be sure to add leaves, grass clippings, shredded newspaper (browns) with the (greens)-veggies, fruits, etc. I know there's all kinds of technical stuff about nitrogen and things like that but we have this awesome "dirt" that smells great and so fresh and we don't work very hard at it at all. Its really cool and the pile never really gets bigger. If we threw out all the composting garbage I bet it would still be sitting in a dump somewhere not breaking down.