I’ve found the cheapest way to make a garden grow better is using home made compost. Compost is really a matter of how much work you want to put into it. The funny thing is. If you don’t put a lot of work into compost it will still help your plants grow. If you just throw grass clippings in your garden it become compost. However, it’s called mulch until it does, and we all know mulch is good also.
What to Build
There is hundreds of internet sites that will tell you how to make compost, how to build compost bins, and anything you want to know about how to build soil with compost. If you want, you can spend hours researching it. If you are more like me you read a few sites think this is too complicated. Leaving you to either give up or try and figure it out yourself. Of course ignoring everything you tried to read.
If you are anything like me, you will have to start with compost bin. This one is the what I have. Actually I have two. They where very cheap to make. All I used was steel posts, and wire mess and plastic zip ties to hold it together. Simple easy and I’m sure I spend less then $50 total. There are a few draw backs to this system. The big one is you will eventually brush against the wire and scratch yourself. Trust me this hurts. Snagging clothes doesn’t hurt, but who wants to put holes in their work clothes? The next problem I have is the bin is too tall. When I go to empty these bins it’s hard to shovel out the bottom.
If I had to do it again, I’d build it differently. The biggest thing I’d do is make sure you can open up the front of the bin. I don’t know how many times I’ve wished I could shovel my bin out without having to go over the wire. There are basic designs I’ve looked at to use when I finally get around to changing my bins. This design from Earth Easy is pretty simple. If I don’t use this design I will most likely just use old pallets for the my compost bins and keep my steel stakes to keep them together.
What to Compost
Anything that was once a living plant can be composted. Egg shells are also a good idea to throw into your bin. There are plenty of recipes on the internet. I’ve found that worrying about how much of what you throw into a compost bin is a pain. I don’t worry about it. In the spring I put some grass clippings in there. In the fall I put all my leaves in the bin. During the summer weeds, eggs shells, fruit and vegies scraps go in there. It’s pretty simple and easy. If I get to many weeds on top I like to throw some more grass clippings over them just so they get hot enough to kill any seeds.
If you are worried about seeds make sure your bin stays moist. If a compost pile dries out you may not get it hot enough to kill the seeds. The after my first year of using mulch from these bins I found tomatoes growing in places I never planted them. It was pretty funny however I felt bad pulling the plants up because I didn’t want them growing in my onions and corn. Since then I’ve been a little more careful as to the amount of seeds that go into the compost bins.
Having your own compost bin is very easy. It really doesn’t take a lot of time despite what many will make you think. I know that I could be out turning my bins every week, but my way works and is easy. Gardening should be easy and fun, not feel like another job. If you go the easy route with your compost bins you will have plenty of compost every year. Your garden will be healthier without they use of store bought fertilizers. This is an all around win in my book.