Thursday, September 17, 2009


Simple, quick, effective and low cost.
Here you see one of our three compost bins that we recently moved to begin a new cycle. Adjacent is the previous location and one of seven bags of compost generated.
Here another compost bin is beginning to fill as green material begins its transition.
Resting but working this full compost bin is soon adorned by jungle vines that actually help hold in moisture, an essential part of the process. If the contents are continually moist the break down of organic material is greatly accelerated. Add water as often as needed to keep the material moist but not soggy (like a wrung-out sponge). Don’t pack materials too tight as air is essential.

The compost is ready to use when you can no longer recognize the original ingredients.

To harvest:
Pry off the compost basket ring and place it in your next location. Remove all of the material that isn’t fully composted and place it in the new location to begin the cycle again. We like to bag and dry some of the composted material for later use and the rest is put directly on the plants that need it most.
A note; to discourage rodents we never place kitchen scraps containing animal grease, bones or flesh…this is kept in the freezer until garbage pick up day.
We do however dispose of almost all paper and light cardboard that we have torn in to strips or small pieces.
Only small green branches break down well. Sticks make a tangled mess and should be avoided.

We can expect a yield of six to eight bushels of compost in about three months.

Materials and dimensions: Each compost ring is 1.1 meters, 44 inches in diameter and .85 meters, 34 inches tall. (The materials available may dictate your ultimate size.)
The top and bottom stiffener rings are of ¼ inch mild steel rod. The mesh is what ever is available. We used ¾ inch galvanized chicken wire.
For the vertical stiffeners, we used ½ inch PVC plastic pipe. Again sticks or whatever you can get will work. We tied the compost bin together with soft 16 gauge wire. Use whatever you can recycle…string or whatever to tie it together. The rewards of this economical environmentally friendly approach to recycling will soon be apparent when you see first hand the end result…a happy garden that benefited from drag and drop composting.

A website with more advice on composting: Compost Made Easy

More tips from Compost Made Easy:

Good Compost Ingredients:
Leaves and other dead plant material
Fruit and vegetable trimmings
Herbicide-free grass clippings
Manure from horses, cattle, goats, poultry and rabbits
Paper or cardboard, torn into strips or hand-sized pieces
Do NOT Add:
Meat scraps
Very fatty, sugary or salty foods
Chips or sawdust from treated wood
Clippings from herbicide-treated lawns
Manure from omnivorous animals (dogs, cats, humans, etc.)

For more on Eco Living Yucatan, click here for our web page.

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