Friday, June 21, 2024

Deck Gardening 2024: Compost Bins

First of all, I tried the countertop compost bin that is generally designed to gather up the days (or weeks, depending upon how often you cook) scraps to be dumped into a larger bin. Despite all of the favorable reviews, this did not work for me. The problem I had with this is that, over time, it starts to smell, no matter how many times you change that filter. In addition, it can also drawn gnats, and that’s disgusting, so I threw mine out.
Photo: Amazon
Deck, balcony, and patio gardeners have space at a premium, and therefore have to be careful in planning what they intend to grow. Plants can outgrow their spaces in no time, so you don’t want to overcrowd. If you have too many things in one pot, nothing is going to do well.

Your crops are also not going to do well if you repeat plant in the same pot without rotating (Yes, there is a need to rotate crops even in pots.), or if you fail to enrich the soil with each year. With this in mind, one thing that you should dedicate space for is a compost bin. These have come a long way since those big, bulky things that people used to have in their backyards, or, failing that, a compost pile. For those of us with no room for piles (and I’ll just leave that there) the next thing is a compost bin where you can turn fruit and vegetable scraps into a wonderful rich soil. I have tried a number of them with mixed results.

Photo: Amazon

I then got a small compost bin to keep in the garage. Anytime I cook I always have a garbage bowl at hand for scraps (Never, and I cannot emphasize this enough, use meat or dairy scraps.) that I put into the compost bin. The reason that I bought this particular one was that it had a spigot on the bottom for “compost tea,” i.e. the runoff, or byproduct of the compost. Rich in nutrients, it can be mixed with water and used on your plants as a fertilizer; it is wonderful stuff. The trouble is, I never got any compost tea. With this design, however, what I did get was a door that popped off, and compost that rained down onto my feet, after which, I spent the rest of the day shoveling it back into the compost bin, and scrubbing my feet. After this happened three times it occurred to me that, again, despite favorable reviews, perhaps this was not the composter of my dreams.

Photo: Amazon

The one I finally settled on, and highly recommend is this one. It has a small footprint, has a narrow rather than bulbous design, and a door that slides into a channel so that there is no way it can pop off and dump compost onto your feet. It is on the small side, so the perfect choice for a household of one or two, but perhaps not large enough for household of three or more people.

One of the best things that you can do for yourself and the planet is to compost your scraps. You can use teabags, loose tea, coffee grounds, a sprinkling of wood ash from your fireplace (if you burn untreated wood), and all of the fruit and vegetable scraps that you end up with after working in your kitchen. Turning that into black gold is an absolute wonder, and your plants will love you for it.

 GARLIC UPDATE: Harvested!

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gluten Free A_Z Blog said...

I love the idea of composting and I certainly use a lot of fruits and vegetables. I just never knew how to do it. I I might give it a try but I want to clarify

"The one I finally settled on, and highly recommend is this one". Are you saying the reviews highly recommend it or that you from your experience with It highly recommend it? Thax . I might try it...

Pattie @ Olla-Podrida said...

Judee, I, personally, recommend this one. It would not work for a larger household, but for me, it’s just perfect. I have compost cooking away that looks absolutely beautiful.

Linda said...

Great post Pattie, and I love seeing peeks at your garden. I had a compost bin when we lived in Oklahoma, and it was so hard turning it - way too big. I had an outdoor compost pile when we lived on acreage, and it was crazy rich soil, but of course the ants loved it too. Now we use a little plastic container and empty it every couple days directly into the garden. When I enlarge next spring I will get a real composter, so I've saved your recommendation in my Amazon wishlist - thanks for doing the research. :D I like the size of it, and the price is reasonable.

Gina said...

That garlic is impressive looking! My mother always had a small covered container in her kitchen for compost and I hated it. Gnats and flies everywhere. You can take the girl out of the country, but...And you could never have convinced her to do it any other way. ):

Marie Smith said...

Our garlic will be harvested next month!

Balvinder said...

Great garlic harvest.
I searched for compost bin 10 years ago when we built our new house and I settled for a steel one because steel never smells.

Balvinder said...

I think you liked my Turkish tea post a lot that you commented twice, lol!

Donna said...

I've been throwing my scraps around in my planting areas...Thanks for the recommendation on the compost bin!!
Going to look at it!