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DIY Compost Bin

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For many years, I made my own compost in the backyard. It was so easy to make all-natural fertilizer for my flowers and vegetables. A couple of years ago, when we moved from Oklahoma back to Texas, my bin was falling apart, so we left it behind. Ever since, I think of it everytime I throw away vegetable and fruit peelings, egg shells, and tea bags. I look at them in the kitchen garbage can and imagine all the healthy compost I could be making.

Well, imagine no more. I came up with a plan to build a new one. For FREE. All I had to do was locate a bunch of free wooden pallets.

I got 5 pallets from a local office-supply store. One for the base, and 4 for the sides:

My handsome model, Nicholas, is demonstrating how I lined the bottom pallet with window screen. This keeps all the good stuff from falling through between the boards, while still allowing air to circulate and water to drain out.

Oops. Nathan picked up the camera and did a self-portrait.

These simple brackets help attach the pallets at the corners. How do you like the little green caterpillar?

I decided to add some screen around the sides about halfway up to help keep the compost from spillout out the sides.

Last fall, when Claudia raked up a bunch of leaves, I had her bag them up and save them, because I knew I was going to be building this bin. Everyone was excited to watch the dumping of the leaves!

Now we add our kitchen scraps daily (a job that is perfect for my 3 and 5 year olds) and let the sun and rain do the rest.

Compost is great for a number of reasons: it's cheap and/or free; it's pesticide free, which makes it safe for your family when used on vegetables; and it's the best kind of fertilizer out there.

If you've never made compost before, it's easy. Simply start saving the following:

Add water from time to time if you don't get enough rain. You want the compost to have the consistency of a wrung-out, damp sponge.

Stir it weekly.

Allow air to circulate. That's why I like the pallets. It keeps the compost pile up off the ground. Oh, and they're FREE.

These are all loose rules. I don't watch the calendar. I just stir it when I think of it, and add whatever we have on hand. If you don't have farm animals, contact a friend who does. Manure is usually FREE. I mean, it's manure.

Depending on where you live, there are other things you can add, such as sea weed, nut shells, fireplace ashes, etc.

If you're super excited to start a compost pile and you don't have the materials handy, you can even do this right on the ground. Just start a pile of leaves, grass, and kitchen scraps.

When the compost is finished, it will resemble a crumbly soil-looking substance.

Some people call it black-gold. I call it fun.

I'm linking this post up with Smockity Frocks and her Frugal Gardening series. Hop on over there and see the other great ideas!


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