I knew when I had a yard of my very own that I would want to compost, some people dream of granite counters and shiny appliances, I dreamed of compost bins and rain barrels.

We felt it was important to keep it close to where we will be using it. I wasn’t about to haul buckets of compost around! The problem with keeping it near the vegetable beds was that it was completely visible from the dining room and living room windows. NOT GOOD! But three 4 foot cedar tree’s block the view and make a nice backdrop for the beds. Problem Solved :)We hid our little compost bin behind a hedge of cedars!

Vegetable beds3
A compost bin is win win, it’s good for the ‘ol vegetable beds, a natural fertilizer, and it cuts down on our garbage, in fact the first week we reduced our garbage by 1/3.
Now would also be a good time to let you in on our “Garbage Goal” we’d like to get our garbage down to one kitchen sized garbage bag a week. We’ve given ourselves a time line to get it down by (these things don’t happen overnight) by September 1st we’re hoping we’ll have 1 bag a week! Wish us luck, we’re going to need it!

But back to our new compost bin!
It’s a EARTH MACHINE COMPOSTER. And possibly the best part: it only cost us $25. Our city provides compost bins at a reduced rate! and we were more then happy to take advantage of the deal! You should check if your city offers a similar program, my parents town also offers a similar program and a dear far away friend of ours also purchased their bin from their city!

Here’s the little counter top crock we use to carry our scraps out to the bin. By “we” use to carry, I really mean “Lee” uses to carry. The division of labor in our house has been set in stone for a few years now, if it smells bad . . . it’s Lee’s job!


compost crock

Backyard Composting – 10 Easy Steps

  1. Choose a flat, partly-sunny area with good drainage.
  2. Purchase a bin from your municipality or a store or build your own rodent-proof compost bin. Keeping a lid on your bin will help keep out rain and rodents.
    tip : The ideal compost bin size is one cubic metre in order to retain the heat it generates.
  3. Create a 6-10 cm base layer using straw, leaves, or woody brushy material to promote air circulation.
  4. Alternate layers of green (nitrogen-rich) and brown (carbon-rich) materials.
    tip : Chop up large materials for faster decomposition.
  5. Whenever you add a food scrap layer, top it off with a layer of brown material (5-8 cm). If you only use kitchen scraps (green material), your compost will likely be wet and break down more slowly.
    tip : In the fall, collect dry leaves into an old garbage container so that you can use them
  6. Mix bin contents every week or two. This aerates the materials and gets the bin heating up again, allowing them to decompose faster. Purchase an aerator tool or use an old ski pole or broom handle.
  7. Moisture content of the bin should be like a wrung-out dish rag. Only add water if it is very dry after mixing.
    tip : To maintain proper moisture content, balance the amount of green and brown
  8. Pile will shrink. Continue to add layers of green and brown materials until bin is almost full.
  9. Compost is generally ready to use after about 2-3 months; however, aging the compost for another 1-2 months is recommended.
    tip : If you have room, set up two composters so you can add to one bin as the other
    one matures.
  10. Harvest your compost when the compost at the bottom and centre is decomposed, full of healthy worms, and  moist. Dig out the compost with a shovel, using the door at the bottom of a commercial bin; or if you have built your own, remove the top new layers and dig the compost from the centre.

We hope you’ll consider a little hidden compost bin of your own, it can reduce your garbage up to 30%. But what we’re really hoping is that you might want to join in on our garbage pledge! It doesn’t have to be 1 bag a week, it doesn’t have to be two bags a week, just a pledge to reduce your garbage by whatever amount you see fit! Grab a badge and let us know!

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