Saturday, May 5, 2012

Make your own compost bin out of Concrete Blocks

Maybe you're noticing a theme here- I like concrete blocks in the garden. Even more accurate than I like them might be to say that I have a ton, and I'm always finding new ways to use them!

For this project, you'll need to decide how big you want your compost pile to be. Our compost pile is 3 ft across by 5 ft long. This decision should factor in how much you plan to compost (including food scraps, yard waste, leaves, etc), how much space you have, and how "active" or "hot" your compost pile will be.

There are two terms used frequently when talking about compost- Hot compost and Cold compost. Essentially, Hot compost requires keeping track of Nitrogen/Carbon ratios and frequent turning of the compost. Cold compost is more of a "chuck veggie scraps on top of the pile" type of method. Hence the reason why my compost pile is a Cold compost.

Next you'll pick the spot where your future compost pile will be! This is most dependent on the available space you have. I chose to place my pile pretty close to the side of my house - I think the radiant head from the house helps to keep the compost active longer in the winter.

Lastly, you can assemble your compost pile! I used around 35 concrete blocks to put my compost pile together. As you see from the pictures, I staggered each level of blocks.

Once you assemble it, you can add some base material- some finished compost, maybe some leaves, or grass cuttings. As you add material to the compost, you want to keep a healthy balance- 25 to 30 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen, or 25-30:1. Here's a helpful link to common compostable items and what their carbon to nitrogen ratio is. Good luck as you design and create your very own compost pile! Whether it's a frequently turned hot compost, or a "throw stuff on the top" cold compost like mine, either way you'll be saving food scraps from the landfill or the trash!

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