Tim and I both grew up in families that gardened and composted. So, when we got married and were in our Fairmount rowhouse apartment, it felt weird for us to throw our food scraps into the trash. We knew we wanted to compost, but as urban newbies, our main concern, was that little (and maybe not-so-little) icky critters would get into it. So, we decided on a fully enclosed Envirocycle compact tumbler, which served us well for several years. Recently, though, we’d been creating more scraps than it could handle, and were saving them in a supplementary tub in the middle of the yard. In order to continue with our plan to have grass in the center section, we needed to get that tub o’ compost out of there.
So, two weekends ago, we designed, and Tim built a larger compost bin. He used leftover decking and fencing that we already had, and two rolls of mesh hardware cloth. In the narrow space to the right of the bin, we will build or find a container for our saved shredded leaves.
A tip to anyone thinking of trying their hand at composting: the most important thing is to keep the proper proportion of dry browns (shredded fall leaves, dry grasses, saw dust, etc) and wet greens (organic grass clippings, kitchen scraps, used coffee grounds, etc). There should be at least four times as much browns as greens. If you don’t have enough browns in the pile, the breakdown will be delayed, and the pile can get smelly. And who wants a smelly pile?
If you’re interested in reading a little more about composting, check out Mike McGrath’s Compost 101.
Do you compost? If so, do you have any helpful tips or stories?