Siting a Garden Composter
Perhaps more important than what type of garden composter you choose is where you actually put your garden compost bin. You need it to be somewhere that is beneficial to both the process of making garden compost AND, most importantly, to you.
What to Put Your Garden Composter On?
The key point is that any compost bin should be placed on the ground ideally on bare soil. Your garden soil holds all the micro organisms that will be needed to turn your garden waste into organic compost. The easiest way to ensure they make their way into your heap of organic matter is by letting it touch the soil. If you can face it, clear the ground of weeds or grass before placing your compost bin. If you don’t you may find weeds flourishing inside your bin during the initial stages of filling. Don’t worry though they’ll soon be smothered by the compost heap so this is not a critical job.
Placing the compost heap on bare soil means that as it cools, and decomposition slows, the worms can find their way in. Never put worms on your compost heap yourself. If the heap is too hot they will perish and then you have taken away a garden friend from your soil, with no benefit to the compost bin at all. Worms will find their own way in when the time is right.
If you do not have any bare ground on which to place your garden composter you can of course put it onto concrete or slabs. This will slow things down a little so either use a compost activator or throw a few spades full of soil into the bin at the start. Again do not add worms to the compost bin. Even sited on concrete those worms will miraculously make their way there when the time is right.
Do not site your garden composter on wooden decking unless you really do not mind it becoming damp, stained and likely to eventually rot. Where to Place the Garden Compost Bin?
Obviously your garden is unique to you and so I cannot tell you where your garden composter should be located. But, there are a few things to keep in mind.
* Will the Garden Composter be an eyesore?
* Will the Garden Compost Bin be easy to use – both for filling and emptying?
* Will the Compost Bin be attractive to children or pets?
* What about fruit flies and gnats?
The initial choice is often to locate a garden compost bin as far away as possible from the house. That way you don’t see it (they’re often not the prettiest things to look at). But, are you the kind of person who is keen on traipsing through a muddy field with a bowl of kitchen scraps? If you are all well and good. If however you are likely to lapse in your composting duties if the bin seems too far away, put it somewhere closer to the house. A basic wooden fence blocking your compost bin from view can be an ideal place for some pretty climbers so that even the ugliest bin becomes a garden feature.
Whether you chose to compost all your organic household waste or just your vegetable peelings, make sure you get yourself some way of storing that waste indoors. A plastic bucket with a lid, under the sink makes a convenient holding ground for household organic waste which you haven’t got the time or inclination to dump in the compost bin just yet. There are even crocks designed specifically to hold kitchen scraps. These make composting kitchen waste a lot more attractive and many come with carbon filters which ensure no nasty smells surround the Kitchen Countertop Composter no matter how rarely you make it down to the end of the garden to empty.
In warm climates fruit flies and gnats can be a nuisance, attracted by the moisture and food in a compost bin. If you always try to cover any new kitchen scraps with garden waste such as grass clippings it will help. But, when you lift the lid of your garden compost bin the chances are you will get a face full of gnats during the summer months. If this is a concern to you make sure your compost bin is away from kitchen windows and doors to discourage any insects you disturb heading for the inside of your home.
Though you need that compost bin to be handy to fill, don’t forget about emptying it. If you are likely to want to turn your compost heap make sure there is plenty of room near it, to make the job easy. If all your composted material will be headed for a particular area of the garden, such as the vegetable patch, site your bin there.
Any compost bin which is working well because it is full of variety should not be particularly smelly to you and I. Some animals however have a much more advanced sense of smell, so are likely to be interested in your garden compost bins. I have lived with various dogs and cats, some of whom completely ignore the compost heap and others fixate on that mysterious bin continually. Most garden compost bins you can buy are pet proof. But if you have a particularly robust dog with a compost fixation think about siting it somewhere the dog does not have access to. Open compost bins, such as those homemade from pallets or other wood scraps, should be secured to prevent your pets gaining access. Chicken wire is cheap and easy to fix around the base, while the lid should be too heavy or even better hinged and clasped to prevent any pets getting in.
The main thing is to ensure your compost bin is not a ‘hassle’. Make it easy to use and you will use it more. The more you use it, the more goodness will be returned to your garden and the less waste you will send to landfill.
All to often, a poorly situated garden composter can become a neglected, expensive entity, ignored and forgotten. Composting your kitchen scraps and garden waste is a great thing to do, so do not give yourself any excuses not to continue doing it!
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