Thursday, March 29, 2007

Compost bin blues


My compost bin took a hit a couple months ago, and this week, one of three sides fell completely over.

I built the bin from left over fencing last spring (http://jamhome.blogspot.com/2006/03/i-like-dirt.html), and damn... I was so proud of it! It was a real compost bin (as opposed to the compost *pile* we had to make do with over the previous fall and winter), made from reclaimed building materials, and the best part was that I built it all by myself. When I was constructing it, I remembered reading somewhere that you should add a floor in order to not loose nutrients from the compost into the ground, so I even managed to find some cinder slabs that I carefully and levelly set into the ground.

I built the U-shaped bin right next to the back fence, bordering the alley, where it sat, happily composting our coffee grounds, veggie scraps, fruit peels and occasional paper towels for over a year. I noticed a couple months ago that it looked a bit skewed, as if someone had backed into it's alley-facing corner, and figured I straighten it out once I removed most of the compost into the vegetable garden bed this spring. A couple days ago, I saw that the entire side had come undone and was laying in the alley; avocado shells and coffee filters were oozing out onto the gravel from atop the cinder slabs, splintered fence pickets were jutting up from the ground. So sad.

It's too soon to completely assess the damage. I just leaned the fallen wall onto the compost for now. Hopefully that's enough to keep everything in place until I can move the pile into the garden and do a little "remodeling." Any tips for when I do so? I was thinking of building a half-height fourth wall for added stability, but was worried about accessibility. I have a few weeks to think on it, but any advice is welcome :)

Yes, I took a photograph of my garbage. From the compost bowl on the kitchen counter: On top, that's some houseplant trimmings, dead flower heads from a bouquet, a couple napkins and a clemantine skin, all on their way to the broken compost bin.

8 comments:

springsandwells said...

Ha!
Sorry about your compost trauma, and my own ignorance on the topic means I have nothing useful to offer.

Except to say that I love your tag "oh shit"

!! that cracked me up!

Vicki said...

Sorry to hear about your compost bin! I'm new to composting, and gleaned some info from this post - wish I had some help to offer back.

I ordered The Four Agreements because of your post and can't wait for it to arrive! :o)

James said...

There's tons of ways you can fix it! I'm sure one of your "Manly Men" will give you a hand : )

Or if the idea appeals, try finding an Old barrel to compost in. Access will be a little awkward...but those things DO NOT fall apart.

Emmy said...

Oh no. I'm sorry to hear about your compost bin. That stinks that someone might have backed into it. I think it's so cool how you built your compost bin from reclaimed materials. Sorry I don't have any advice on "remodeling" it . Hope you have a lovely weekend :)

Dori said...

No advice for a compost bin fix but that is some of the prettiest garbage I have ever seen.

Corman said...

Hi, I didn't read this entry but this comment isn't really about you, it's about me.

My name is Corman and I miss you. I don't see you enough.

Also, a lot of people seem to be commenting on your garbage. I hope this is some sort of garbage related post and you're not cultivating homeless friends.

C.

Taylor said...

Sorry your compost bin fell apart. There's not much you can do if someone is going to back into a structure. I would skip the structure and just pile the compost out in the open if you have lots of the stuff...and bad drivers abound It's not as pretty, but it works.

I used to compost in a spare, plastic hurby-curby (garbage can on wheels with lid) that I drilled holes in. It worked for normal amounts of compost coming from a household. It's not easy to turn, but we chose to do the slow composting method, or lazy method - leave it for a year and not turn it.

Mikaela said...

There are just too many tag possibilities to not have fun with them, s+w :) Vicki, I can't wait until you read the book; please let me know what you think!

As rebuilding continues, I'll keep you all posted on the State of My Compost Bin... especially you, Corman ;)