Thursday, August 20, 2020

#ThrowbackThursday: Composting in a Plastic Barrel Step by Step

My former wire bin composter.
Two years ago I lost the location for my simple wire compost bin. I'd used it for years to compost my garden and kitchen scraps at our float cabin home. I had to find an alternative that could be handled on the cabin deck or in my floating garden. One method I learned about is called chop and drop.

Chopped garden waste for mulch.
Chop and drop works well for garden waste. As plants are trimmed or removed, the residue is chopped into small portions and used as mulch in garden beds and plant containers. The majority of my composting needs are taken care of in this manner.

Cutting a plastic 55-gallon barrel in half.
It doesn't work as well for kitchen scraps because the smell can attract critters. I decided to compost kitchen waste in a 55-gallon plastic barrel cut in half. Barrels in my town cost $35. Check nursery, building and farm stores, or use a large plastic bucket or trash can that isn't too deep.

Now that my first batch of soil is ready to use, I'm starting over.


Composting in a Plastic Barrel
Step by Step

A kitchen compost container.
Cut the barrel in half. Drill drain holes in the bottom. Make two composters or use the other half as a planter.

Place four inches of soil in the bottom to start.

Use a kitchen compost container for fruit and vegetable trimmings chopped into pieces.

Layering chopped plant matter, Rot-It and soil.
When the container is full, spread the contents over the layer of soil.

Add garden trimmings if you have them.

Sprinkle with compost accelerator. I use Rot-It.

Moisten with water.

Add 1" of soil over fresh items.

A cover cut to fit and a plastic mesh cage.
Cover with a porous material and surround with a cage to keep small critters out. If you live in bear country, enclose your composter.

When it's time to add a new layer, stir the ones below first.

Continue layering waste and soil until the barrel is full.

Let your composter rest with it's porous cover on for several months while the organic matter decomposes. Periodically moisten and mix to encourage the composting process.

Compost turned into rich soil in 8 months.

Your rewards will be less kitchen and garden waste going into the garbage stream, and free rich soil coming into your garden.

Do you do compost? What process do you use? Do you have any tips to add to my post? -- Margy

If you've ever dreamed of living away from town in an off-the-grid home, or in town with a simple lifestyle, you'll enjoy reading Off the Grid: Getting Started.

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Hop on over to the Simple Life Mom and see some great ideas for homesteading and simple living.

Want more ideas? Try The Green Acre Homestead's Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop.

For homesteading, homemaking, DIY and self-sustaining posts visit Farm Fresh Tuesdays at The Self Sufficient HomeAcre.

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26 comments:

  1. This is wonderful. With Jr. Bear we cannot compost anymore. You are amazing!

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    1. I'm lucky in a way that bears and deer can't get to my garden and cabin. But you do get some amazing pictures at your place. - Margy

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  2. No wonder the veges from your garden look so great when you grow them in compost like that!

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    1. Plus I don't have to haul all the waste to town and send it to the dump. - Margy

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  3. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing on Homestead Blog hop!

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    1. Thanks for offering a place to share ideas. - Margy

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  4. I do have a small compost but I haven't been using it for long. I need wrigglers (worms). I do also have the compost accelerator.

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    1. I have thought about using worms, but haven't given that a try yet. - Margy

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  5. Well, I suppose this could be considered a kind of art. Happy Paint Party Friday.

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    1. Sorry you arrived a few hours early for my Paint Party Friday cabin journal post. But in a way you are right, composting is kind of an art. You take raw materials and mixed media to create a composition, soil. - Margy

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  6. I've never tried composting. But it looks interesting.
    dropping by from the ABCWed linkup.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by. Composting is easier up the lake, but we do have a place here in town where you can take your garden and kitchen waste. I haven't tried that yet. - Margy

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  7. We need to do a more thorough job of this.

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    1. I terrible in town. I have a garbage disposal. - Margy

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  8. We certainly do compost, lovely to have rich soil to add the veggie containers.

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    1. And you have so much garden space to work with. - Margy

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  9. Hi! I featured your post on Farm Fresh Tuesdays today! I hope you'll stop by and share more posts this week!

    https://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2019/07/farm-fresh-tuesdays-12-and-getting-rid-of-mosquitoes.html

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    1. Thanks so much for the honour of being features. Thanks for hosting. I get lots of good ideas from your participants. - Margy

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  10. smart idea, and good result....

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    1. And it saves increased garbage going to the dump, which in our town is shipped out of town by barge.

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  11. Ever since the garbage company has let us throw kitchen scraps in the green can, we haven't composted as much. As we become more mindful about gardening that may change again. I'm finally understanding what mulch is about.

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    1. Our town is restarting their green can service. Right now it is still in the experimental phase. Hopefully in the future we'll have our own composting program in town. - Margy

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  12. This is a great idea - important and useful. Thanks for sharing.
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. It's a simple way to compost. I haven't tried it but there are people in town who repurpose freezers into composters. They would be a good choice to keep critters out.

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We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy