Saturday, 30 Oct 10
Well the latest addition to my garden is not really a plant, but more of a plant cemetary! I also think it bares a passing resemblance to some not so friendly characters out of Doctor Who!
This compost bin is the latest part of my plan to essentially trench compost a large section of my backyard (which is a pretty heavy clay at the moment), with a view to planting some fruit trees up the back, hopefully next year. From the photo, you can see i already have one of these bins, and they are the pretty basic, relatively cheap, bottomless bins, with aerated sides. While not suitable for every composting application, they suit my purposes quite well.
Essentially what i do is, i dig a whole in the ground with X & Y dimensions roughly the size of the bottom of the compost bin but a bit smaller, and the Z dimension determined by how energetic i’m feeling on the day! I then throw in a decent amount of gypsum, and then start adding any organic material as it is produced. This will include kitchen scraps, shredded scrap paper, lawn clippings and i also run my mower over any plant prunings and throw them in as well. I also add a bag or two of manure at some stage, as well as more gypsum, and also bits of pea straw, lucerne, sugar cane etc if i have some left over from mulching jobs, and i collect the used coffee grounds from a nearby cafe once or twice a week as well. I also throw back in some of the original soil i dug out, and then mix it all in really well every few days with one of those “corkscrew” style mixers which do a great job, making sure i get right down below “ground level” and incorporate the compost into the existing soil.
The reason for the second bin is so that once the first one has had enough material added to it, i can let it sit for a while and continue to mix it in from time to time, while i get started with the next bin alongside it. Then when that bin’s full, i remove the orginal bin, spread its compost around and mix with the original soil a bit, and start all over again at the next spot along, while allowing the second bin to sit for a while.
I’ve found that by doing this, as well as improving the topsoil and providing nutrients, it also elevates it, providing a raised area that i can then develop further when it’s time to plant, reducing the risk of wet feet for my fruit trees. I plan to add to my composting endeavours at a later date with a worm farm as well as one of the “rotating barrell” type composters for when i want to make a specific mix for a particular application.