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Friday, July 5, 2013

Beautifying The Garden - Compost Bin

So, as I’ve been amping up the gardening activities around here in my tiny backyard, the question of a compost heap of course came up. It makes sense to make our own compost, keep the fruit and veggie scraps out of the landfill and generally give the kids a chance to observe the cycle of nature.

However, we are in the middle of a big city, we have a tiny backyard and we don’t really want a stinking heap of all sorts and attract every undesirable critter in the neighborhood!

So, after some extensive research on the art of composting, I felt moderately comfortable  in tackling this task, without the undesirable side-effects.

When I checked out what the city ordinances might be in regards to composting, I found, much to my surprise, that the city actually encourages composting! Not only that, for $5 they offer compost bins, which are essentially cut up trash cans. Since other options for a compost container have been considerably more expensive, I thought using one of those would be a good way to start and take it from there.



My husband went to the place to pick one up, but as it turns out, the only one that could possibly fit into the trunk of our car, even with a lot of bungee cords, was the most beat up one around. It didn’t even have the lid properly attached - they improvised with a chewed up bit of pvc pipe!

I forgot to take a picture of our bin. In fact I didn’t take any pictures of the entire process, so keen was I to cover the mess up!

It was also very blue, since it had been a recycle bin in it’s former life. Even though the main décor color in my garden is actually blue, I really didn’t want a great blue bin attracting all the focus. Especially as it’s just not great to look at.

It was beat up (literally, like somebody had actually beaten it with chains or something) and even though it was blue, it seemed to have various shades of blue and not in a good way. Some faded, some not, some black stains, some faded white logo printing on it. Just not pretty at all. Not that compost bins have to be pretty, but if you put it in a very small garden, it’s going to be a focal point, even in the very back corner of the garden, behind the raised bed!

So, I had a look around my extensive craft stash and found that I had two cans of brown spray paint for plastics with inbuilt primer (score!) sitting in my cupboard.

And since I didn’t just want to spray the whole thing brown, I also got out some scrap vinyl and cut out a variety of shapes on my silhouette.

That was actually the most time consuming part of the project. Once I had those cut and applied to the trash can, cleaned up the messily drilled holes a little,  it was really fast. Remember, it’s a dry heat around here and at 7 PM we still sport 110 F and up, so things dry really fast.

The trick was definitely light but sweeping spray action and going over everything several times that way. Voila, not a single drip in sight. It helps that the paint was dry practically the minute it hit the can!

I let it dry for another hour or so, just to be sure I hadn’t missed a spot, then I peeled the vinyl off and now we have a Compost Bin worth looking at! It’s not exactly a thing of beauty, it’s still a compost bin, but it has some interest now!  And now all the fading and beat marks add to the interest and texture of the whole thing!



And now we’re busy filling it all up!



This is the temporary setup for now, we’ll be swapping out the bottom once we’ve found a suitable piece of scrap wood and some bricks. But for now, we’re using what we had, which happened to be more bright blue. I sense a theme!


I got us a bucket with a gamma lid for the kitchen. It’s a generous size, so we don’t have to take it out after every meal preparation and the gamma seal lid prevents odors and fruit flies. So far it has worked out well!

I also stuck instructions as to what can and can’t go in the compost bin on the bucket, so the kids can be reminded (and their dad too!)



I have plans for a Vermi-Composter, but that has to wait until it is a little cooler, so we don’t fry our little worm friends!

More on that in another post however, since I also combined it with some major garden bling that I am in the last stages of finishing!

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Birgit Kerr