Building A Compost Bin - Lancaster Home "Green" Projects 2008

By
Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Select Professionals

Some of you may be wondering "what's Jeff been up to this year with the green thing"?  Well, I've got a 3-part series for you straight from my backyard 2008.

  1. Building a Compost Bin using Home Depot lumber and a couple of screws
  2. Installing a RainBarrel to catch downspout water for garden and pool re-use
  3. Installing a solar pool heater on the roof of your garage

Today, let's talk compost. 

Susan & I have had a small compost bin I made with some old 2x4s a couple of years ago.  It was a basic design - called a "one-chamber" because that's all there was.  I've really loved not having to put the grass clippings out for 2 years!  Also, everything organic from the kitchen has gone out to the pile daily.  We got a great compost harvest the second spring but this year didn't go as well.  The pile had gotten too high and was a bear to turn (which is required for the stuff to decompose properly) with the pitchfork.

Solution: Rip the thing out and rebuild.  Today I finished the compost bin (level two)!  It's a "two-chamber" design which will allow me to turn the piles more effectively by going from one side to the other, and pulling out the finished compost as it happens.  I would have preferred to have done a "three-chamber" so I had a pile for only finished compost, but space did not allow for that. 

Lancaster PA composting, homemade compost bin designs 

I stopped at Home Depot and picked up some PT (pressure treated) 2x4s (the last ones rotted) and 1x4's for the side slatting.  I also bought some green-coated chicken wire in 24"x 25 ft (one roll - I already had 25 foot - you'll need two rolls to build this compost bin design).  I used 2" deck screws to fasten everything together.

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I sunk the posts using a post-hole digger and an iron "digging stick" with a tamping end to pack the posts in place.  Lots and lots of measuring with a tape measure and level...The screws tightened the whole compost bin up nicely.  Took me an afternoon and a half (with 3 kids in tow). 

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Right away I noticed how the extra 4 feet really helped separate the materials.  Note the difference between the more recent deposits and the almost-ready compost on the left.  My nagging problem had been the lack of consistent aeration - the stuff stunk!  Now with the ability to turn more often without the hassle factor I'll get better aeration, which means lots of good compost to spread on mama Geoghan's vegetable garden in the fall and spring!

Look for my next piece - on putting together a rainbarrel using a local Lancaster PA barrel source and easily-available plumbing parts. 

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Visit Jeff's marketing blog for real estate - lots of great tips for all agents!  www.JeffG.me  Jeff is also working with real estate agents and brokers to enhance their marketing efforts - let him help you today!

 

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lancaster pa energy efficiency
composting
compost bin designs

Comments 16 New Comment

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Rainmaker
201,028
Stephanie Edwards-Musa
knitwit at thred UP
thredUP.com

Hey Jeff!

Hope all is going well up there!  Just wanted to let you know that I have this bookmarked.  I have had a handful of people asking for composting bins here lately..

July 29, 2008 05:56 PM
Rainmaker
58,307
Sallie Williams
REALTOR - MBA, Baton Rouge
Keller Williams Realty RED STICK PARTNERS

Hi Jeff, thanks for a great post.  My composting is on a much smaller scale and I like to add a little bit of perlite to help with aeration.  A finished bucket of compost smells so good!!

July 30, 2008 01:28 PM
Rainer
9,121
Rose Weaver
The Real Estate Group

What a great post!  Thanks for the instuctions on composting.  Every little bit helps the enviroment and the compost will help your garden and your pocket book the way prices of food are rising.  Everyone has a gardener in them.

July 30, 2008 01:55 PM
Rainer
55,863
-- Casey Brischle
Spokane Home Loan Mortgage Professional
Columbia Bank

Jeff - Awesome post.  Leet me ask you a couple quick questions.  How often do you turn your compost? and what do you do in the winter (winters here snow and rain a lot)?  Do you need to cover it? or use it before the winter hits?

July 30, 2008 02:51 PM
Anonymous #18
Anonymous
Marty Smith

Creating a Compost Bin is fairly easy to make and maintain.

I made mine from discarded pallets. Take a look if interested gravitygarden.com/bucketgarden

May 19, 2009 11:25 AM
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Rainmaker
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Jeff R. Geoghan

Marketing VP & Coach
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My blog. I've been at it since 2004 so I think you can find something worth reading...enjoy.

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