Monday, June 23, 2008

I've been working on the...compost bin

Moving out here we were excited to pull out our kitchen scraps pail again. Seattle actually picks up yard waste, kitchen scraps, and compost year-round, but at our last apartment they chose not to use that service. It was painful throwing out food scraps for 6 months!

There are two store-bought, black plastic compost bins in the back yard here, but we quickly realized we wanted to do things a bit differently. We planned to build something like this, a three bin compost bin. This way we could keep rotating the compost and hopefully make dirt faster - in time to pile it on the garden in the fall after the crops are in and before it starts snowing! Then during the winter Jeremy is thinking about vermiculture: composting indoors with worms.

Years ago in Seattle, some fellow house-mates acquired a bunch of wooden pallets and constructed some compost bins out of them. It was quite the process but I still convinced Jeremy we could find some pallets and that would be the way to go.

We picked up some pallets several weeks ago and Jeremy was otherwise on the hunt for wood. One day he came home excited that he had spied some wood in a dumpster behind a store. Here he is climbing in to check out the situation:

We didn't end up salvaging that wood, but we had enough with the pallets at home.
Jeremy deconstructed some of them using a big hammer and enormous crowbar. It does sound like someone working on the railroad - which made the family upstairs offer to sing that song to us.

Jeremy designed what the bins would look like, and I helped with the manual labor. After taking apart several of the pallets, we had a few left to patch up:

Then we put them in place in our chosen spot in the backyard:

We tipped all the pallets onto their faces and nailed the back-side on:

Then we tipped the whole thing into place against the fence:

Isn't it beautiful!

Here's Jeremy constructing a bit of a cover for it. The front part of the bin can be removed one slat at a time to make it easier to turn the compost and to get it out when it has become dirt.

By the end of the day on Sunday, we had our beautiful three-bin compost system complete. It feels good being a "weekend warrior, do-it-yourselfer."

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