Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Compost Bin from Recycled Garden Trailer

We bought this trailer a number of years ago and always had trouble with the wheels. The rims are plastic, and just didn't keep the air in. We weren't quite sure what to do with it once we bought a new trailer to tow behind our lawn tractor, and my husband was going to take it to the dump.

But I thought, there's got to be something I can do with this thing. That usually scares Eddie--we still haven't gotten rid of the wooden windows we pulled from the house when we replaced them with new ones--I'm thinking something interesting for the garden, maybe cold frames. Anyway, I digress.

I had tried composting in the past, but just didn't have the gumption to build the three neat bins everyone recommends, and which my friend's wonderful husband has built for her, by the way. Wish I had pictures to show you!

So my first attempt at composting was to create a circular bin from wire fencing and some metal posts, so I could just open it up and spread the compost around the area where I had placed the bin. That didn't work well, and I gave up. Plus we had chickens that would eat most of our scraps, and I wasn't much into weeding and doing all the other things that give you good material for composting.


Since this trailer already had a few small holes in the bottom, and a removable end, and wheels that were flat, but could assist in moving it around some, I thought I'd give it a go. I laid some branches on the bottom to give everything some breathing room, and a way for water to get to the drainage holes. Then I raked up some grass clippings, started collecting our scraps for the bin instead of for the chickens, scraped up the chicken droppings from underneath their coops, along with a nice amount of dirt, and added it all to the trailer.

Since we had been replacing windows and had a window screen that fit inside the dimensions of the trailer, I laid that on top to try to discourage the dog from reaching in and helping himself. So far nothing seems to be trying to scavenge from it. I keep the pitchfork next to the "compost bin" to remind myself to turn things every once in a while. It seems to be draining well, too. The sheet-rock mud white bucket (can you ever have too many of these?) is there just to keep things balanced, as is the wood frame, which was scrap wood from some other project.

I keep adding food scraps, grass clippings, "hen helpings," and any weeds I pull, to the pile, and it doesn't seem to be growing, so I think that's a good sign--something must be decomposing. I guess I'll know better in a few months!

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