Easy compost bin, research study & more items too good to miss

compost bin in Amherst NY garden
Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko.

Speed up compost with this no-turn bin

I love these instructions for making a bin for a compost pile that you don’t have to turn. It’s cheap and very, very easy.

Compost piles need oxygen to carry on the decomposition process. One way to speed up your compost pile is to turn the pile with a pitch fork. This design by Fred Davis of Hill Gardens of Maine allows air to circulate throughout the pile so you don’t need to turn it.

First, he uses pallets to form the floor and walls of the bin. One pallet forms the floor and four pallets form the walls. You simply tie the pallets together with clothesline to hold them in place.

The pallets are free–stores just throw them away! You’ll find free pallets at the back doors of any shopping plaza or mall.

Next, buy some PVC pipe and drill holes into it. Lay the pipe in pairs on top of the first layer of material in your pile. Add a couple more feet of material and lay another pair of pipes, perpendicular to the first set. You can see detailed instructions here.

Davis says you can get fully decomposed compost in 21 days using this method. I think that’s possible. I didn’t get those amazing results, but there were many steps I skipped.

For the best results, you need to use a mixture of ingredients in your compost pile. Unfortunately, we have a rat problem in our neighborhood and I don’t put kitchen scraps such as banana peels in this outdoor compost pile, so it doesn’t have the optimal balance. (I compost food scraps in a garbage can with a tight-fitting lid in my garage. I add some yard scraps, too.)

Your compost pile also needs water. This summer I couldn’t even keep up on the watering for my garden. My compost pile got the occasional splash, but not nearly what it needed for speedy decomposition.

In general, compost piles also work better if they are big. They will get hotter, speeding up the decomposition process. My bin started out less than half full and has never gotten more than half full. (The height of the pile decreases as it settles and as things in the pile begin to decompose.)

I think if I had been able to mix my ingredients, keep the pile moist and start out with a larger pile I would have gotten better results.

Still, I’m pleased with this bin. It gives me lots of room for yard waste that I had been throwing in garbage cans to compost. This frees up space in my garage. Plus, the compost in garbage cans has very little air circulation, so using the bin might be faster.

If you try this method, please leave a comment below to tell us how it worked for you. Do you have any other composting tips? Please share!


Seniors who participated in community gardens are sought for research project

Senior woman gardening
Photo from Microsoft.

Beryl Milstein, a master’s student in occupational therapy at D’Youville College, needs to talk to gardeners for her graduate research project.

Basically, you will be asked questions regarding about your experience with your particular community garden.

Volunteers must:

1.      Be age 65 and older

2.      Live in Buffalo, NY

3.      Have participated in a community garden in the spring/summer of 2012

4.      Be English speaking

“Simply put, I am seeking input as to how your gardening pursuits have enhanced your quality of life,” she said.

More technically, her research looks at the perceptions of well-being in community dwelling adults age 65 and older who participated in community gardens.

“It would be wonderful if you could join me and several of your peers to discuss this,”  Milstein said. “I’m confident that it would be a meaningful experience for all of us. Your experiences would greatly enhance my study and aid in the collection of valuable data.  Please join us!”

A variety of refreshments will be available.

The discussion will take place at 9:30 a.m. Friday, September 14 in the Westside Community Services conference room, 161 Vermont St.,  Buffalo, NY 14213.

 Free parking is available behind the building as well as on street.

The discussion will run no longer than 1 ½ hours, and the session will end by 11:30am.

You can contact Milstein to her know you are coming, or you can just show up. If you have any questions,  contact her at BerylMilstein@gmail.com or at 845-781-6051.



Autumn Reflections 7 in Western New York
Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

 Thought for today

“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring. ”

~George Santayana, philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist

2 Comments on “Easy compost bin, research study & more items too good to miss

  1. Eileen, thanks so much! I think the changing seasons is one of the reasons I enjoy living in Western New York so much.

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