Autumn is a good time to collect leaves to make compost to feed the garden. We have found different ways to do this. The photo shows a wire ‘barrel’ which we pack with leaves every fall. There is also a regular store bought bin where I put kitchen scraps and leaves along with some soil periodically, which helps make very good compost. Behind that bin is another bin that we can use to wait for the first bin to finish the compost. You will also notice that the bottom sheet on top of that bin has holes, evidence that rats were eating through it to get to food they like.
Because we had some trouble with rats we decided to try this double bin, Start and Finish, that is not flat on the ground. The two attached smaller bins are designed for each bin to take turns using food scraps, leaves and a little soil. I can spin it around mixing the three items, until it is quite full. Continuing the spins in the full bin, will help turn these materials turn into rich compost. Then the same process will make new batches of compost on the other bin side.
I spill the kitchen scraps into the bin each evening, and occasionally spin the bin around a couple of times.
There is no difficulty finding leaves, dry material, in the fall. These leaves, brown material, supply carbon, while the food scraps supply nitrogen. I try to mix equal amounts of carbon and nitrogen. Moisture is also very important to turn food scraps and leaves into oxygen. Oxygen will help the material breakdown. Don’t mix them too often. When the bin is suitably full, let it sit to heat up and decompose. This is rich material for the garden.
We have been using our old ‘big’ bin for a couple of years. It has made compost but it takes longer. When the mixture is completed, I add it to garden areas that need more food. I am very excited to see this work, because I always feel that I need rich soil for my plants.
Making compost is not only a job for grown-ups. Young children can put on their thinking caps – and maybe teach their parents something. Check out The Compost Tour at the Academy of Early Learning.