Compost, Compost Everywhere

Compost is good stuff!  We are still amazed, though we are getting used to it just a bit, by how wonderfully productive our vege boxes are.  The secret is no secret really; it’s compost: rich, fertile soil.

Compost is basically just decomposed garbage.  Most of what we use in our compost comes from grass clippings from the push mower.  (The rider mower’s bag release catch won’t open, and therefore is full and simply mulches the grass into the lawn.)  The rest of our compost comes from our gardens: vege bits from the kitchen, weeds, leaves, and pieces from trimmed hedges and trees.  We have a garden shredder, so we can run small limbs through it to add to our compost bin.  (All of the larger limbs go into the wood burning stove to keep my office warm.)

All the “experts” and “manuals” about compost state that you’re supposed to have a balance between green and brown stuff to make your compost work best.  I tried doing that at first, but that is just plain way too much work.  All the stuff eventually decomposes into compost; it just takes longer if the mix isn’t right.  If you get the mix right, it heats up very much, thereby killing weed seeds and composting much faster.

Compost Bin in New Zealand

Our First Compost Bin (it came with the house)

When we bought this place, there were small compost bins all around the yard, hidden here and there in out of the way places.  And there was one very large compost bin.  At least, I thought of it as “very large.”  Now, it seems like just the regular compost bin, and most of the smaller hoards have been added to it.

But that large compost bin got full to overflowing this summer.  And it is decomposing very nicely.  So, when we saw our neighbors raking up their leaves and asked if we could have the leaves, Kevin and Kay were more than happy to let us have their leaves, because it saves them a trip to the dump and the fee for dumping them.  And we decided to let this trailerful of leaves be the beginning of a second compost bin.  (Kevin and Kay will be making their own compost bin one of these days, when they have a bit more time.)

Beginnings of a Compost Bin in New Zealand

Trailer Load of Leaves

Since we positioned our new compost bin up next to a fence that separates portions of our yard, we were able to use two very sturdy posts and the fence itself as part of the bin.  I dug two holes, packed dirt back into them around a post each, and then strung some wire netting around it.  I used chain link fencing from the Seagull Reuse Center in Thames, $2.00, and part of a roll of fencing and some chook (chicken) wire from the same place, $5.00 for a long roll of both hooked together, used.  The posts came from under our house, left there by the previous owner.  So, our entire compost bin cost less than $4.00 (since I didn’t use even a third of the fencing-and-chook-wire roll) plus about three hours of my time.  Oh, and a few nails which we bought at a garage sale, $4.00 for dozens and dozens of various sizes of new nails.

Another Compost Bin in New Zealand

Second Compost Bin, cost less than $4.00

Now, we’ll use the compost from the first bin, since it is all nearly ready, and then next year, we’ll use what has composted in the second bin, as we fill the first bin back up again.


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