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October 15, 2009

Jason and I thought we’d join in the fun for world blog action day ( and talk about a fun, environmentally-friendly activity we’ve been taking part in recently: composting. Because green is the new black, right?

(I convinced Jason to join forces with me in writing this post, since he did all of the construction on the composting bin.  His comments are in italics)

And going green in this way is going to save us a bit of green when we create our garden next spring.  And I LOVE saving money. Also?  I’d love to have a bigger and better garden out here in the country than we did when we lived in the city.  Of course, the best start to a good garden is a good soil and the best start to a good soil is good compost.

And, as a third bonus, less will go into our trash, which means that I Jason will take out the trash less frequently.  It’s estimated that composting will reduce about 1/3 of your household garbage.  Pair that with our obsessive recycling habits, and we really should only need to take the trash to the curb about once per month.  (Makes me want to call the trash collection agency and re-negotiate our service).

Win-win-win.  Everyone’s happy.

In Minneapolis, we attempted to compost.  We bought a big black plastic trash can with a lid and drilled holes in it so that air could circulate.  In the end, we were sidetracked by other projects, and we ended up with a hot smelly mess of stuff.

Now that we’re living in the country, we’d decided to try again.  We thought we’d build some large wooden bins so that we could have one pile ready while another pile was composting. Our bins are 3x3x3 which should give a significant amount of compost.

First, Jason made the framing from a few 4x4s, L-brackets, and outdoor deck screws (#8, 2.5″)The L-brackets were used to hold the 4×4 base and supports together before all the wood was screwed on.

The outside walls are made with wood 2x4s that we found strewn throughout our woods. (Bonus: we used recycled materials AND saved money.)  The 2x4s were just screwed to the 4×4 frame using deck screws.  J left space between each of the 2x4s so that air could circulate into the bins.  Because we used 2x4s found in our woods, the corners aren’t always super-smooth.  But, seeing as it’s being used to hold rotting garbage, I think it will be good enough.  Eventually (read: next spring when it warms up around here), Jason will add doors to the front of the bin so that the compost can be turned without falling out of the bin.

The total cost for this project was about $40 for screws, 4x4s, and L-brackets.

We also purchased a large glass airtight jar for under the sink.  Any organic kitchen material will go into the jar until it’s full, and then will be deposited in the compost bins outside.  Luckily, we should be able to easily find enough brown matter (i.e., dead leaves) to balance out the green matter that’s coming from our kitchen.  A balance of green and brown matter and proper air circulation should give us a smell-free compost bin and lots of good compost for our garden next spring!

For more info on composting, check out

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 15, 2009 2:02 pm

    I had to laugh when reading this because I have something like a big black trash can, but it is for composting. And boy does it smell at times! lol. I had the best garden this year from our compost! I swear by that stuff!

  2. October 15, 2009 3:48 pm

    I am seriously so impressed! Can’t wait to see how it all “turns” out!

  3. roundrockgarden permalink
    October 15, 2009 6:14 pm

    looks like the compost bin i built as well, except mine has four sides (after the fact, i wished i built a door on it, or left it open like you did). it works well, though! happy composting!

  4. Debbie permalink
    October 15, 2009 6:45 pm

    Looking good! I thought we were pretty green around here but you put us to shame.
    I think Kathleen used to compost if you need any suggestions.

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