Wednesday, May 29, 2013

HE #36- Our DIY Composter

I desperately wanted a composter so that my gardening identity would feel more secure, BUT it needed to fit the following 3 requirements:

1) I needed to be able to turn it with a crank, or low enough to manually turn with a spade.

2) It needed to keep out those nasty slugs that seem to view my garden as their own Golden Corral buffet. Most people in these parts shy away from on-the-ground composters/compost piles because of  the imminent slug infestation that would then be shovelled into your garden beds later.

3) It would preferably be free, or pretty darn near close to free. (I've got a centsible identity to maintain as well, you know!)

With all of that in mind, this wonderful creation is what we devised! I combined multiple posts that I found on Pinterest and crafted this Frankenstein of DIY composter ideas. With the help of Farmer Boy (who can't resist a chance to use the drill), we got this together in under 20 minutes and I am so thrilled with it!
Our rather unassuming creation.

Here are the steps we took:

1. Buy/Scrounge 2 identical large totes.  They need to be the same style and size so that they nest inside each other.  Put one bin where you want your composter to ultimately sit and put spacers in the bottom of it. They need to be between 1-2" high. I used pre-cut PVC connectors that I got in the plumbing aisle at the home improvement center for about .50 each. You could use rocks, bricks, or whatever suits your fancy and your budget. They just need to be strong enough to support the other bin when it is filled with compost.
Take your other tote and drill holes all over that bad boy. I marked X's for my son to be able to aim his drill. These holes are for airflow.  Then, once you're all drilled up, cover those holes with duct tape. This will still allow for airflow, but will be a barrier to slugs or other critters wanting to join the party inside the tubs. It will looks something like this:

Now place the drilled tote inside the other one, on top of the spacers. Voila! A compost bin that is low enough to easily turn with a spade, and will keep out the slugs!  Just add your mix of brown items, scraps, and soil to get the party started. I also went and scrounged up earthworms from under rocks in my yard to help break things down.  While this wasn't free, I was able to make it for well under $20, and that sure beats the $150 price tag on the composter I saw at the warehouse store down the street!

We were worried about the smell because of the whole 'airflow' thing-especially since we have  a lot of bear traffic in our yard in the latter part of summer. We put this up in the corner of our deck, and we've been pleased to note that we can't smell it at all. In spite of the egg shells, veggie scraps,  and pulp from my juicing, this bin doesn't seem noticeable at all. Yay!

Now I saw pictures of crafty-types who painted their bins with lovely murals, or decorated it with patterened tape,etc. Mine is a very utilitarian gray since it's in a corner where it remains fairly unseen. However, knowing you can get as wild and crazy with this style of bin just adds to the DIY fun of it all, doesn't it? If you do make one and come up with an art masterpiece worthy of bragging rights,, then  I would love to see a picture of it!   Happy Composting!

Hillary At Home

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