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Update: How to Maintain Your Compost Bin

Now that you've made your compost bin, learn how to create and maintain rich soil that will become nutrient-rich fertilizer for your garden next year.

A few weeks ago we wrote a blog post about how to make this chicken wire compost bin. Since then, we've been tending to it and adding leftover food scraps to make it the rich soil fertilizer we'll need for our garden next spring. We've been able to keep raccoons and opossums out by not adding certain foods and because we made the bin a tall cylinder--it's difficult for varmints to get in and out.

The chicken wire has helped maintain a great air flow and the food is decomposing quickly with the warmer temperatures. We've kept ours in the far back corner of the yard so as not to attract flies and other bugs. We actually placed it somewhat close to our chicken coop and when we let the chickens out to roam they love to eat flies and other insects that can start to huddle around the bin. And as everyone knows worms start to grow in the compost bin and so we give the chickens some worms as special treats sometimes.

When we went out to add some veggies recently, I thought you might want to know how to properly add (and what to add) to the your bin to make sure it's thriving. Below we've outlined a few simple steps.

How to Maintain Your Compost Bin:

Step 1: Stir Your Dirt

To generate air flow, stir your compost bin before putting your table scraps on top. The oxygen will help the healthy fungi grow and aid decomposition.

Step 2: Add Food Scraps

Once you've given your pile a good stir, add in your bag of table scraps. We keep a big ziplock bag in the fridge for scraps and coffee grounds and then about once a week, add the bag to the bin and top with some leaves. Remember to not add meat or egg shells as those will attract rats and other unwanted varmints. This time we added blueberries, apples, carrots and coffee grounds to our pile. For a full list of what to add and what not to--visit our last blog post.

Step 3: Cover with Brown Leaves

Next, cover your food scraps with brown leaves and give it a little stir, topping with more brown leaves. The dead leaves are a great source of nitrogen which aids in decomposition. In fact, you ideally want your compost pile to be 3/4 brown (leaves) and 1/4 green (food scraps and green leaves).

Step 4: Let Sit for 1 Month

Be careful not to stir it too frequently--we recommend about once a month because you want to give your scraps time to "cook" and break down. It had been a little while since we'd stirred ours and when we did, the black, rich powder that is already starting to form was so exciting to see!

For more garden projects, visit our Grow It section of the blog!


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