February 3, 2011

Simple Solutions – Starting a Compost Bin

So how does this…

…relate to this?

(The tutorial for my Tiered Terracotta Planter can be found here.)

The answer is one thing: compost! I have wanted for a while now to start a compost, but until we moved to our new home, I didn’t want to invest a great deal of effort into something we would have to leave behind. Anyone who gardens knows that one of the primary costs of planting container flowers and a garden is the often exorbitant price of potting and gardening soil. Making your own compost will allow you to save money to apply elsewhere, all the while whittling down the amount of garbage you send to the dump each week. It really is a win-win!

For those who are unfamiliar with composting (as I was until not too long ago!), the concept it this: by reserving things like vegetable scraps, banana peels, egg shells, coffee grounds, newspaper, grass clippings and other goodies (see below for links to great resources that outline in detail exactly what you can and can’t add to your compost), you can combine them in a way that will allow them to decompose (a nice way of saying rot!) and form the most gorgeous, fertile soil you can imagine. All that is required in terms of effort is to add your ingredients to a pile or a bin in the proper proportions, keeping everything evenly moistened and turning your compost periodically to keep the decomposing process moving along. 

From the start, I knew I wanted to do container composting, as we have a very wily beagle who would make trying to keep a tidy compost pile a real headache. Online, I found ideas ranging from creating a compost bin from a large Rubbermaid tub to investing in pricier ready-made bins. I was particularly intrigued, however, by this video from About.com, which talked about making a compost bin from a trash can.

I did everything as the video describes, except I opted to use my cordless drill and a 3/16″ bit to make the holes in my can instead of a nail and a hammer. I also opted for a plastic bin as the video shows rather than a metal one, to make rusting a non-issue. One recommendation: Make sure when you are purchasing your can to verify that the lid closes very securely. (As the video describes, you will have to roll the thing around, so you don’t want to wind up with a huge mess in the process!) I had to test a couple at Lowe’s before I found one that latched to my liking.

At Blissdom, I had the opportunity to meet Lisa from Condo Blues, and she and I were comparing notes on composting. She does her composting in large Rubbermaid tubs, and she keeps two going simultaneously so that once the compost in one is ready for use, she can start adding her clippings and scraps to the other and keep the process going. Once our current compost is ready, I think I’ll buy another trash can to do the same. Adding a bit of the finished compost from the first bin will kick-start the new compost and get the decomposing process started more quickly. Very smart!

The links below are a couple of terrific resources I’ve found for exactly what you should and shouldn’t add to your compost. As the video above mentions, there are two categories you need to strive to include in your compost to ensure everything breaks down as efficiently as possible – your greens and your browns – and each of these links goes over those in detail.

Earth Friendly Gardening
Plow & Hearth
Better Homes and Gardens

So, do you compost? Have you ever considered it? Or is it just something that isn’t for you? I’d love to hear about your experiences. I’ll definitely keep you updated on my composting progress, too!

Every week or so, it is going to be a goal of mine to share this Simple Solutions series with y’all – cooking tips, organization options, healthy living ideas, and time-saving solutions for sewing, crafting cooking, etc. The sky is the limit to what you’ll see here! Based on the feedback I received from the survey I posted a few weeks back, I think this will be a terrific way to enrich your experience here at Positively Splendid.

You know, it is truly amazing. I was thrilled to have a chance to chat with the lovely Liz from Hoosier Homemade during Blissdom, and she said something that really resonated with me: As we go through our lives, developing and honing our particular “systems” for coping with the daily rush, we sometimes take for granted that everyone does the same things we do to streamline their harried schedules. Liz’s example of this was the amount of feedback she received on this post where she shared with her readers an ingenious way to manage her coffee prep each morning. For Liz, this was just something mundane, but to many of her readers, it was a tip that will help them save precious minutes during their morning. How invaluable!

 What we can’t discount as we engage in the blogging world is how much we have to learn from one another. I hope this Simple Solutions series will be a resource for learning information that will make you life better! 

Do you have a Simple Solution that you find particularly helpful as you deal with the daily grind? A time-saving tactic for cooking, crafting, or otherwise? If you think you have something that would work well for this series and you’d like to post about it here, contact me. I’d love for you to share your knowledge with all of us!

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7 Responses to Simple Solutions – Starting a Compost Bin

  1. Caroline @ The Feminist Housewife February 3, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

    I have only been composting a couple months but I LOVE it!!

    I keep a stainless steel bowl in my freezer and put our scraps in there. And then every few days, I take it out to our compost pile. It’s nice because the freezer keeps it from smelling funky (I’m being pregnant..I’m not into funky smells. Haha!)

    Love the pots that you did…will have to try it this spring! = )

  2. Michele {The Scrap Shoppe} February 3, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

    Nice! The hubs has been wanting to do this for ages. And for as much as I love to garden, we really should do this! Thanks for the info, Amy!

  3. Kathy ~ Cackles and Berries February 3, 2011 at 10:49 pm #

    We used to compost but I struggled with turning it over all the time. DH hubby would forget and I being the “weaker sex”- well, wouldn’t do it justice. I do like the idea of container composting and I think I’m going to give it a try. The chickens finish off a lot our vegtable and fruit scraps but there is still alot that seems to go into our trash that I wish wouldn’t.

    As far as things that make my life simpler- well, having a good laundry routine is probably the biggest change I’ve made in my life. We have 5 kids and there was always a lot of laundry to be done-I never saw the bottom of the hamper. Then One weekend I spent the entire time doing laundry putting it away..and I’ve never gotten behind again. Several things I Do different.
    #1 – I do laundry almost everyday- throw a load in, in the morning first thing.
    #2 – always empty the washer and dryer promptly
    #3- DON’t carry your laundry into the living room and fold sitting on the couch- piling it up to put away later – LOL – I did this alot and was always moving it later to find a place to sit. and what has made the biggest different is – I’ve gotten in a great habit of folding it as I take it out of the dryer- Each child has their own basket the laundry get sorted in directly from there and then THEY take it to their rooms and put it away at the end of EVERY day.

    Not only do I stay up on laundry but we dont’ need as many clothes as when I heard “Mom, I’m out of underwear” and we went to the store to buy more, when they were really just buried under the mountain of dirty laundry!

    Happy Washing.

  4. Jess @ Frugal with a Flourish February 4, 2011 at 12:46 am #

    Great post darling!! I can’t wait to go get a couple bins to start my own! 🙂

  5. HoosierHomemade February 6, 2011 at 11:56 pm #

    Amy, what a great post! I love this idea! I was reading thru in my email and planned to share on Twitter. Then I continued reading and saw my name!
    Thanks so much for the shout out! I will still share 🙂

  6. Pat February 19, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    I get so many wonderful ideas from you which I am so grateful. I have gardened for 50 years but you can always learn something new or a betterr way to do things. I’ve commited to helping some young (and not so young) people in my neighborhood this spring. They want to learn and you simply things in a much easier way to teach. I am known as the flower lady in my neighborhood. (I don’t have a name.)lol My garden such as it is in the backyard so not always seen. With just me I don’t do a lot but stick tomatoes, cukes etc. in amongst my flowers. I do bigger gardens for my very busy daughters and families.

    • Amy @ Positively Splendid February 22, 2013 at 7:47 am #

      Pat, your sweet comment just made my morning! I bet your gardens are all absolutely stunning!

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