Composting and DIY Compost Bin

I want to start blogging again and what better way to start then to talk about my attempt at composting?  Not really… But I took photos when I made my DIY compost bin so why not?

According to various internet sources, composting is easy.  Just layer alternating brown carbon (leaves, paper,straw) and green nitrogen (fruits, vegetables, grass clippings) stuff, mix it up every couple of weeks and black gold will magically appear in a few months. Alright if you delve a little more, there’s more detail.  There is a proper brown to green ratio.  There has to be some moisture, but not too much.  The internal temperature has to get hot for the organic stuff to cook and break down.  There should be plenty of air flow.  However many sites make it seem like you could literally put out a pile out there with minimum effort.

Naturally my first attempt was the pile version.  Throw in some vegetable and fruit waste, top with leaves and repeat and voila!  I got animals digging into the pile, fruit flies and other bugs hovering around.  I was constantly worried about attracting raccoons into the yard and have my neighbors curse me out.

Hence the bin version. Sure I could spend more money on a compost bin, but DIY sites and YouTube convinced me that I could easily make my own.  A garbage bin, a drill and tada! Plus, one lady touted the benefit of being able to roll the garbage can around for easy mixing. She even thought it would be a fun activity for the kids, rolling the garbage can all around the yard.

I don’t use a drill often, but when I do I feel badass.

I drilled a bunch of holes on the sides and bottom for airflow.

Layered the bottm with dry leaves.

Threw in the kitchen scraps.

Added more leaves.

The reality is that it’s been a month and a half and there’s no black gold. I still have a ton of bugs flying out whenever I open the bin, it doesn’t smell terrible, but there’s really disgusting liquid coming out of the holes. Clearly I need to work on that brown and green ratio. But I think the disgusting liquid is a natural by product. So the kids rolling the bin around is not happening.

I did more research and it’s possible that the compost isn’t getting hot enough. One site suggested putting my hand in the center to see how hot it feels. EWWWWWW… that’s beyond gross. Another site suggested the compost may be too wet in which case to spread the stuff on a tarp to dry it out and build again. More EWWWWWW.

Plus, additional EWWWWWW from the small collection bin under the sink. Unless I empty it out on a frequent basis, it too starts to liquify and get moldy.

The verdict? It’s not so easy and it’s ickier than I thought. I’m still holding on to the hope that black gold is coming, but it’s feeling less and less likely.

Next step? Moving the bin to a sunnier spot help raise the temperature and adding even more brown stuff.


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