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Homesteading Lifestyle

Composting on the Homestead

Preparing for growing plants and vegetables this summer

Steve W tackles the composter

With all of the bad weather we’ve been having lately, it was bound to happen. The wind caught our composting bin and it blew away! Leaving behind a huge pile of mushy mud and melon peels decomposing at a glacial pace.

As soon as the bin disappeared, the dog jumped in and started scraping away at the heap left behind. Compost was shooting around all over garden.

I swiftly cut away the (now defunct) electric fence wire and set about clearning up as best as I could.

Pile of Compost in Hedge
The stormy weather blew away the composting bin

Don’t put tea bags in the compost bin

There are a few harsh lessons I’ve learned from keeping a compost bin. Firstly, don’t put tea bags in because they don’t break down at all. I should’ve known this. I didn’t. Let’s move on.

Also, melon rinds might break down eventually but they take an awfully long time to decompose. Next time I’ll slice them into smaller pieces before throwing them in.

Egg shells are apparently good for adding calcium to the soil. Smash them up with a hammer first though or they’ll just sit there. Recycling bags don’t really decompose very quickly either. Emptying the debris out first would’ve been a better option.

Spade and Cart of Compost
The compost got loaded into a cart for transportation

Secure the composting bin in a safer location

Even though the bin was tucked inside a hedge it was still vulnerable to the elements. Clearing up the mess was a laborious and time-consuming job but with spring on the way it was necessary. I am hoping to plant some vegetable seeds soon so needed to get the garden into some sort of order.

As the grass gets dryer I plan on bringing out the lawn mower more frequently and adding grass piles to the relocated composter. The goats can hoover up any excess trimmings.

Grabbing my spade and pull-along cart I loaded up the compost and did a few runs back and forth to the new location. I used a power hose to wash down the bin as best as I could and, aside from some oil splashed on the corner, it looked a lot cleaner.

Relocated Compost Bin
The bin is now connected to a tree

Using the compost bin

Now safely secured to a tree, the bin is about three quarters of the way full. The broken hatch at the bottom has been replaced. Any excess compost was put into my growing area, which is an old dog bed with holes drilled in the bottom.

I bought a couple of bags of soil from the local garden centre. The seeds have arrived in the post. Butternut squash and lettuce will be on the menu this summer hopefully. I’ll keep you posted.

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