Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Compost Queen

A few months ago I went to a worm composting workshop given by Project Compost, a student run program on campus. I made a worm bin and my little wormies have been happily munching my veggie scraps for a while now. It was super easy, here are the instructions. I haven't harvested the worm castings yet, but our garden is growing so there will be plenty of opportunity to use the "black gold."

I lived in my old house for a whole year, with its big back yard, and the whole time I meant to make a large outdoor compost bin. Never happened. But I've been in this new house for three weeks and I already followed through and made one! It was also incredibly easy and it only cost me fifteen dollars. Here's what I did:

  • 10-foot length of 36-inch-wide 1-inch galvanized chicken wire
  • 2 feet of heavier wire for ties
  • two or three 4-foot-tall wooden or metal posts

  • heavy-duty wire cutters
  • pliers
  • hammer
  • work gloves
  • Fold back 3 to 4 inches of chicken wire at each end of the cut piece to provide a strong, clean edge that will not poke or snag and that will be easy to latch
  • Stand the wire in a circle and set it in place for the compost pile
  • Cut the heavy wire into lengths for ties. Attach the ends of the chicken wire together with the wire ties, using pliers
  • Space posts around the inside of the chicken-wire circle. Holding the posts tightly against the wire, pound them firmly into the ground to provide support.
These instructions are slightly modified from this website.

I put the bin under the grapefruit tree in our side yard. The space is pretty barren right now, but it will have a picnic table and planter boxes and fun lights all around. But you'll have to just use your imagination for now.


Felicia said...

I really need to set up a composting bin too. Like you I've always meant to do it but never quite got round to it. You may have inspired me :)

cookiecrumb said...

Oh, fancy you!!!
Eeeee, I saw a worm!
Congratulations. I need the comforting counseling. I'm almost there...

mel said...

Thanks for the worm bin info! I had one of the cool three-tiered ones for a while, it was going great till I put fruit in it and got fruit flies everywhere. But, like, EVERYWHERE. Since the bin was 4 feet from my only source of ventilation for my place, I ended up giving it to a friend who had more room. What do they do? THREW IT AWAY and didn't even tell me! Those poor worms! Plus the fact that they could have sold the bin for $50 and the worms for another $20 (since that's what I paid the Seattle Tilth for them).

Anyway, I'm going to try the simpler approach now. I think if I just put in veggie / decorative plant crops into the bin, it will be OK (there is a community garden on my rooftop, but I don't see a compost bin there yet...)

That looks like the house Kim N. was telling me about. It's purty! :)