As part of my efforts to both grow my own food and be more environmentally friendly, one of my goals is to compost. It seems easy enough. You just throw your yard and kitchen scraps together and wait for them to break down, right? That’s the basics of it, but there’s no shortage of expensive products on the market designed to make the process go more smoothly. Of course, being the cheapo that I am, I like to DIY. A couple of years ago, before I had a blog, Nick and I built this makeshift compost bin out of pallets. We got them for free by asking at Lowe’s and secured them at the corners with metal brackets, then used hinges to attach the fourth side so that it could swing open. I started to paint it white but never finished. It’s actually looking sort of picturesque at the moment with that flowering vine that popped up out of nowhere.
The problem with this system is that it’s A) not conveniently located, and B) difficult to turn. The turning thing is not that big of a deal because I know that it will still break down into compost even if it’s never turned, it will just take longer, but the downside is that whatever good compost has been created is currently buried deep underneath a pile of grass clippings and laundry lint, which is about all I’ve added to the pile in at least a year because it’s way too inconvenient to be running my kitchen scraps all the way across the yard. For my veggie garden this year I ended up using commercial compost because it was just too much hassle to deal with my compost bin.
But no more, because I’ve got an idea! I picked up this 32 gallon trash can for $9 at Home Depot.
I removed the sticker and then used my largest drill bit to make holes all around the sides and bottom. It was so so so easy. Like a knife through butter. It literally took me five minutes.
And voila! A compost bin located right next to the back door. Bonus: I can snap the lid on and roll it around the yard to turn. I’ll use a bungee for extra security if the lid doesn’t want to stay on. And then when I need to harvest some compost for a gardening project I can just drag the whole thing over to where I need it and shovel it right out.
Now all I’ve got to do is move my pile from the old bin into the new one, and start collecting kitchen scraps again! Compost needs moisture, too, so I can either add some water as I tend to my veggie garden a few feet away or pop the lid off whenever I know that a rainstorm is coming. I’m really excited about making my own compost again. It’s so much better than the stuff you can buy in the store (since it’s made from a variety of components instead of the byproducts of a specific agricultural industry like mushrooms or cattle), and of course it’s freeeeeeee! Plus it’s so good for the environment. All that kitchen and yard waste that would have been headed for the landfill can go back into growing nutritious food for my family instead. Can’t beat that with a stick.
So what should I do with the old pallets once I shovel all that compost out? I’m not really into the idea of dismantling them into individual boards or using them for anything indoors, but I hate to just toss them. Maybe I should staple some tar paper to them and fashion a roof and voila, I’ll have the shed I’ve always dreamed of, haha.