Composting & Vermacomposting

Step right up Ladies and Gentlemen! That’s right!  The wave of the past is now the wave of the future. As food prices escalate, more and more people are growing their own food.  But wait you ask, where are they getting all this soil? It must be expensive. Wait, what’s that, you say. They are making it themselves. Please, tell me more.  Don’t worry everyone.  Just stay patient and I will do exactly that. ;)

Compost, as defined by Merriam-Webster: a mixture that consists largely of decayed organic matter and is used for fertilizing and conditioning land

The act of composting is simply making your own compost, rather than buying it. It is really easy just by collecting things like leaves, grass clippings and food scraps.

I recently completed building my second compost bin and I thought I would walk you guys through the construction and that of my first try at a bin.  Of course there are many ways to make a compost bin.  I will just be going through two of them.  Hopefully, it will give you some ideas for starting your own bin.

Here is a picture of my first attempt at a compost bin…

My first compost bin
My first compost bin

I first began with an open space and scraped away the ground-cover to encourage any worms to come up. In the spirit of recycling, I try to use as much used material as I can.  In this case, I used some plastic hardware cloth for this method. But, you could use any type of mesh or wire for this method.  As you can see I used 4 metal posts for support. I just bought the cheapest piece of rebar that I thought would work and drove it in the ground with a sledgehammer. However,  you could use bamboo or something else sturdy and straight. Then I just kind of weaved the mesh over the rebar so that the front is open for me to throw stuff in.  One could just leave it like that, as big “U”.  Or if you prefer you can do as I did and make it into a “W” as seen below…

Upclose of the bin

 

As you can see I used cheap metal clips in the middle of the bin to make it into a “W”. I did this to semi-seperate the bin into two.  This made it easier for me to turn the compost as I would just simply flip it back and forth.  The divider helped me stack it higher on the side to increase air flow.

For my second attempt at a compost bin I again utilized recycled materials and used wooden pallets. Basically, it is the same method as described above, but with wooden pallets. The advantage to this method is added stability as well as it gave me extra height. I fit 3 of the pallets together in a “U” so that they are permanent then you want to leave one side accessible. So, use another pallet, cardboard or something to keep stuff from falling out, but that could still be easily removed.

Bamboo holding the side of my bin up
In this shot, you can see the bamboo holding up the wall of on of my bins

 

Rebar holding the pallet bin up
In this shot, you can see the rebar holding up the wall of another of my bins

 

I actually made two bins in my final attempt. I cut down on materials by using one pallet as a common wall for both. And as you can see in the above picture I used rebar and bamboo to stabilize the walls (so far neither has given me problems).  As I said earlier, I switched to pallets because I could fit a lot more in and stack things a lot higher. Since I used the same spot as before I was able to reuse that same rebar and the plastic hardware cloth. The plastic cloth basically became the door. I secured it on one side with zip-ties so it would function as a hinge and then I used the same clips as before to hold it in place in a way I could easily access.

Zip ties and metal clips to fasten the mesh door
Zip ties and metal clips to fasten the mesh door ( as you can see I sometimes had to use two zip-ties together to extend their length)

 

A close up of 2 zipties connected together to extend their length
A close up of 2 zip-ties connected together to extend their length
Close up of the zipties used as a hinge
Close up of the zip-ties used as a hinge

 

Close up of the metal clips securing the front
Close up of the metal clips securing the front

 

And so here is the finished product!

My double bins made from wooden pallets
My double bins made from wooden pallets

 

 

Vermacomposting is a form of composting that utilizes worms, specifically red earthworms. From them you can also collect the liquid, called ‘work tea’. This acts as a super fertilizer.

MORE ON THIS TO COME…