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

By
Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Select Professionals
http://actvra.in/4hGS

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). 

Lancaster PA real estate, lancaster pa energy efficiency, green building lancaster pa, composting lancaster pa

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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William Johnson
RE/MAX Associates - San Diego, CA
San Diego Real Estate Voice, GRI CRS e-Pro CDPE

This is very informative Jeff, I would bet this idea would impress a lot of consumers.

We stated our new group today the Internet Empowered Consumer and would love for you to stop by and join the group.

Jul 17, 2008 11:11 PM #1
Rainmaker
326,047
Jeff R. Geoghan
Coldwell Banker Select Professionals - Lancaster, PA
REALTOR, Marketing VP & Real Estate Agent Coach

San Diego Real Estate Voice authored by William Johnson GRI CRS e-PRO (RE/MAX Associates)

Thanks for the comment and the invite, William.  I like your name - "voice"  - can I use it?

 

Jul 17, 2008 11:44 PM #2
Rainer
105,417
Teresa Harris
Lake Real Estate, LLC - Denver, NC
Denver . Lake Norman . Charlotte

Great post, Jeff! Going green is something my husband and I are slowly doing so at the moment we are not too educated on it. So please don't think we are dumb by asking the following question.

I was wanting to know do you fertilize your grass? If so do you put those grass clippings in the compost bin as well? Unless you have some natural way to fertilize I would think putting regular fertilized grass in the bin would contaminate it....

Thank you! 

Jul 18, 2008 09:24 AM #3
Rainmaker
326,047
Jeff R. Geoghan
Coldwell Banker Select Professionals - Lancaster, PA
REALTOR, Marketing VP & Real Estate Agent Coach

Teresa, that's a great question.  Luckily, the fertilizer I use is organic-based and only applied a couple of times per year.  Still, I would prefer to use non-fertilizer products as I have in the past - different kinds of meal, for example.  Over time the fertilizer breaks down and the compost coming out is pretty sweet.

Jul 18, 2008 02:16 PM #4
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ASHEVILLE 1031 PROPERTIES RESOURCES & REFERRALS
Asheville 1031 REFERRING BROKERAGE - Asheville, NC
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Jeff~

Now this looks like a great project. I am going to send this right over to my co-pilot for consideration...but...before I do...Just a couple more questions: I am wondering about the "aromatix" of the heap...how far must it be from your home? and do you have to know in which direction the prevailing winds blow?

Jul 21, 2008 06:55 AM #6
Rainmaker
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Pete Jalbert
The Maui Real Estate Team, Inc. - Paia, HI
R(S)

Aloha Jeff-This is a great how to and a good resource for clients. Thanks for the post.

Jul 21, 2008 03:18 PM #7
Rainer
73,665
Sabrina Kelley
ERA The Herman Group - Woodland Park, CO
Pikes Peak Region Realtor, Teller, Park and El Paso County Colorado

My grandmother had hers built out of cinder blocks but your chicken wire method might bring more air into the pile so that you don't have to turn the compost as frequently.

Jul 21, 2008 04:54 PM #8
Rainmaker
326,047
Jeff R. Geoghan
Coldwell Banker Select Professionals - Lancaster, PA
REALTOR, Marketing VP & Real Estate Agent Coach

Asheville's GREEN Land & Homes ECO-Steward Realty

Hi JaneAnne - great to hear from you!

No, there isn't any smell when compost is progressing well.  I got some minor stink from the pile being too wet and not hot enough - hence my expansion project.  Still, you might want to keep it away from the house if possible...

Jul 22, 2008 11:51 PM #10
Rainmaker
326,047
Jeff R. Geoghan
Coldwell Banker Select Professionals - Lancaster, PA
REALTOR, Marketing VP & Real Estate Agent Coach

Pete Jalbert R(S) (Jim Sanders Realty, Inc. )

Thanks Pete - Aloha right back at you!

 

Jul 22, 2008 11:52 PM #11
Rainmaker
326,047
Jeff R. Geoghan
Coldwell Banker Select Professionals - Lancaster, PA
REALTOR, Marketing VP & Real Estate Agent Coach

Sabrina Kelley ,Colorado Mountain Homes (Prudential Colorado Real Estate )

That's a good point, Sabrina.  I looked at blocks but it was less attractive and more of a hassle to get rid of one day.

 

Jul 22, 2008 11:53 PM #12
Rainer
105,417
Teresa Harris
Lake Real Estate, LLC - Denver, NC
Denver . Lake Norman . Charlotte

Thanks for the info Jeff!

Jul 29, 2008 05:31 PM #13
Rainmaker
201,028
Stephanie Edwards-Musa
thredUP.com - The Woodlands, TX
knitwit at thred UP

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..

Jul 29, 2008 05:56 PM #14
Rainmaker
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Sallie Williams
Keller Williams Realty RED STICK PARTNERS - Baton Rouge, LA
REALTOR - MBA, Baton Rouge

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!!

Jul 30, 2008 01:28 PM #15
Rainer
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Rose Weaver
The Real Estate Group - Virginia Beach, VA

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.

Jul 30, 2008 01:55 PM #16
Rainer
55,863
-- Casey Brischle
Columbia Bank - Spokane, WA
Spokane Home Loan Mortgage Professional

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?

Jul 30, 2008 02:51 PM #17
Anonymous
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 #18
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Jeff R. Geoghan

REALTOR, Marketing VP & Real Estate Agent Coach
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