Table of Contents
Small space composting solutions for gorgeous gardens – A gardener’s ideal is to have an abundance of nice, rich compost. It may be used for a variety of purposes, all of which will result in better-looking plants. Small space composting, on the other hand, may be time-consuming and exhausting. I set a decent value on my time, therefore churning compost piles for hours on end does not constitute as a good workout in my opinion. Regardless, I compost, but only on my terms.
I constructed two compost containers. Each bin is five feet in width, five feet in depth, and four feet in height. I constructed the bins by burying 4” by 4” posts in the ground for the corners and alternately nailing 2” by 4” and 1” by 4” boards on the sides.
For air circulation, I left 2” gaps between the boards. The 2 by 4s are stiff enough to prevent the sides from bowing out, and I used 1 by 4s in between each 2 by 4 to save money. Because the bins are only three-sided, I kept the front of the bins open to allow for easy filling and emptying.
I began by only filling one of the containers. In the bins, I placed grass clippings, dry leaves, and shrub cuttings. On each layer, I try not to use more than 6” of each material. You don’t want 24″ of grass clippings in the bin, and layers of green and brown stuff should be alternated. Keep a few bags of dry leaves on hand if required so that you can alternate layers of brown garbage with green rubbish.
We use coarse sand to root cuttings in flats, and then compost the old sand when the cuttings are ready to be pulled. Some of the plants in our backyard nursery did not survive. Not only do we not have to remove the dead plant and weeds from the container but we also do not have to re-pot the soil. Soil and weeds are mixed together, which adds additional brown stuff.
Composting laws state that after the bin is full, it should be turned every several weeks. I don’t have time for that, so I do this. I try to load the first bin to capacity before moving on to the second. I pile the trash as high as I can, spilling it out in front of the container. This is followed by mulch or potting soil, or any brown stuff I can find.
DIY Small Space Composting Solutions for Small Gardens
Later in the day, while working in the garden, I place a tiny sprinkler on top of the pile and turn it on very slowly. Because I have a nice water well, I let it run for at least two hours as frequently as I can. This keeps the material wet, which causes the pile to heat up and start composting.
I use the second bin after the first one is full. So I just keep scooping the stuff I put in front of the bin up on top of the pile, until all the material is either in the bin, or piled on top of the heap. That’s when I stop watering it. Watering isn’t required, it merely speeds things up.
Because I don’t turn the pile, I can’t expect it to totally decay. The material in the middle will break down faster than the stuff on the borders, but it will still break down. Because I have a small nursery, I always have a bunch of potting soil on hand. To get started, buy two or three yards of shredded mulch and pile it up near your compost containers. This way, you’ll always have good compost to work with.
A mound of shredded bark will ultimately decompose into wonderful compost. My potting soil is 80% rotten bark. I produce potting soil by buying fine grained dark hardwood bark mulch and letting it decay. The trick is to maintain the pile low and flat to avoid shedding rain water. Keeping the mulch moist will help it break down faster.
Decomposed bark mulch is kept near my compost containers. When both bins are filled, I dump the oldest stuff on top of the rotten bark mulch. I make the rotting mulch pile wide and flat so that when I add the compost bin material on top, it is only 5 to 10 inches thick.
My mulch pile is 12′ broad but barely 24-30 inches high. Once the compost is completely on top of the pile, I use a shovel to walk around the pile’s perimeter and toss stuff up on top, covering the compost with at least 6″ of rotten bark. This will finish decomposing the compost.
Once you start using this small space composting technique, you won’t want to use all of the content. Always have 2–3 cubic yards on hand to mix with your compost. If you use a lot of compost, like I do, you should replenish your pile in late summer or early fall.
Many suppliers sell a composted material that is already very broken down. This is what I buy for my stash. But I make sure I have 3 yards of old material and 3 yards of new material on hand. On top of that, in the spring, I’ll empty one of the compost containers.
The compost pile will include layers of composted material. Like a sandwich. So I chop off a portion of the pile from the edge, lay it out on the ground about 8” deep, and rototiller it. This nicely combines it and I shovel it into the potting bench.
In order to preserve the layered effect required for the composting process, keep a mound of rotting compost near your compost containers.
It’s a little labor, but it’s wonderful to have access to organic trash whenever I want. Then, when I have lovely compost to add to my potting soil, I am glad I did the right thing sooner, and I know I have not wasted anything.