How to build your own compost bin


Hello from your local community garden. We are so grateful for the weather finally turning and becoming warmer! For those of you who are unaware, we are a fully operational community garden, located behind the Agape distribution building, 209 S. Brooklyn Ave in Sidney. We have over 50 raised garden beds, which produce a variety of herbs, flowers and vegetables.

Composting is part of our regular system for creating nutrient dense soil. According to the OSU extension website on how to compost at home these are the five layers your compost bin should have:

•Remove grass and sod cover from the area where you construct your compost pile to allow direct contact of the materials with soil microorganisms. The following “recipe” for constructing your compost heap is recommended for best results:

• First layer: three to four inches of chopped brush or other coarse material on top of the soil surface. This material allows air circulation around the base of the heap.

• Second layer: six to eight inches of mixed scraps, leaves, grass clippings, etc. Materials should be “sponge damp.”

• Third layer: one inch of soil serves as an inoculant by adding microorganisms to the heap.

• Fourth layer: (optional) two to three inches of manure to provide the nitrogen needed by microorganisms.

Sprinkle lime, wood ash and/or rock phosphate over the layer of manure to reduce the heap’s acidity. Add water if the manure is dry. Add one pound of urea fertilizer or 10 pounds of composted poultry manure per yard of leaves or ground brush if organic sources of nitrogen are not available. Soak these high carbon materials with water before composting. Manure generally should not be used in cities to reduce the potential for fly problems.

• Fifth layer: Repeat steps one through four until the bin is full. Scoop out a “basin” at the top to catch rainwater under summer conditions.

We provide garden talks about garden basics, children’s programs and networking opportunities. Check us out this season once a month at the Sidney/Shelby County Farmer’s Market.

We have designated 15 raised garden beds which are rented to community members who are interested in growing their own food. The garden is managed by four coordinators, including master gardeners. Additional support is provided by volunteers who assist with weeding, watering, planting, building and mowing. We currently have a job list posted outside our functional teaching building. Please come out and see how you can help or just browse around and relax. The garden is not limited to daily hours rather if you’d like a tour or come to visit please call 937-726-9525, and speak to Conelia Dixon, head coordinator & master gardener.

Please consider stopping by as there’s nothing quite like hearing the birds chirping, seeing neighbors, gardening together, seeing and enjoying nature. For more information visit our table monthly at the farmer’s market, or call 937-726-9525 for more information on how you can make a difference in your community!

The writer is a Master Gardener and a coordinator of the People’s Garden. Reach her at 937-726-9525.

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