Really got you interested, didn’t it?
Well I’m not just talking about any old compost bins – I’m talking about Harry’s.
Ever since we were married, where ever we have lived we have always had a compost bin or two. They may have just been a heap on the ground or a ‘bin’ built with pellets or roller door cut-offs. The compost didn’t amount to much most of the time but the idea was there and we would use some of the compost if it wasn’t invaded with convolvulus.
When we first moved to our new home here, we made a couple up behind the garage but then we got Harry’s Dad’s chooks so all our scarps went to them.
When we came to Tirau back in the 80's there was a public dump (My Dad and Harry would have fun shooting the rats at night!) that was free to use. When (especially in spring) there was too much grass clippings we would take it up in the trailer and shovel it off being careful to avoid standing on any rats and more often than not Harry would bring something “useful” home! When it closed the council had a green waste site that was also free to dump grass and thin pruning’s etc. They turned it into mulch which was free to take. When that closed we had to start to pay to use the next towns dump unless we had access to a friendly farmers “bank” to dump it over.
We decided it was time to build some compost bins not only to save costs with the dumping of green waste but to actually have somewhere to put the waste and to make compost for our gardens.
Harry looked at different ideas from books and websites and set about making his own design using all the wood we had around the section. We were really lucky in that we had obtained some left over wood and sown off bits from where Daniel had worked before they were dumped, so we were able to have them. In the end we didn’t have to buy anything for the construction.
At first Harry built two with the idea of one to be added to while the other was doing its ‘cooking’ or composting. But then we realised that we needed three; one for adding to, one for cooking and one for the finishing off.
|Bags of stable scrapings|
Harry adds stable scrapings that can be picked up free from the gates at the Matamata racing stables layering it between grass clippings and we add other things like coffee grinds, ash from the fire, food scarps we don’t give the chooks, weeds and leftovers from harvested vegetables. I also empty the vacuum cleaner into it and sometimes rotting cardboard.
The bins have been set up in the vegetable garden at the moment until an area that Harry is still clearing is suitable for them to be installed permanently. The front slates can be slid up and removed to allow for the adding of grass from the wheel barrow easily, then shoveling the compost over to the next bin and finally to be accessed easily as the level goes down.
All in all they are a state of the art addition to our self-sufficiency.
And the compost is superb ... even if I do say so myself.
|Finish compost ready for the garden or bagging|