Compost Bin

Took a major life step today. I set up a green, 3 cubic yard coated-wire mesh compost bin, behind the wood fence that separates the gravel driveway from the side garden and deck. Many of the remaining leaf bags went into the compost bin. The rest of the leaf bags are out for pickup.
It seemed completely absurd to me to put the bags of leaves and clippings at the curb for recycling, and then head off to Home Depot to purchase a similar number of bags of mulch for the garden beds. Hence compost.
I still have no idea how long I will be in Austin. The compost bin might make it harder to sell the house. Might attract bugs and vermin. I might not be here long enough to use the resulting compost.
If worse comes to worse, I can hire a garden person to cart the pile of compost away, and put down a new layer of gravel. $100 max. Non fatal. Reversible.
I bought the house in part because I was tired of avoiding commitments because I don’t know what the future holds.

One thought on “Compost Bin”

  1. Don’t worry about the compost bin hurting your resale value. It sounds like it’s tucked out of the way and the issues you name are non-issues — bugs are good and vermin of the four-legged kind won’t be interested unless you put kitchen scraps in the heap and even then won’t show themselves by daylight.
    The biggest problem might be that your mulch needs may not be met by the compost heap. In the first place, it takes several cubic yards of leaves to produce one cubic yard of compost. One year as an experiment I held onto all the leaves produced by our four mature pecan trees and composted them over the year. A zillion brown paper bags of leaves produced just two wheelbarrows of finished compost. Another issue is that my understanding of mulch (a layer of coarse, undigested organic matter intended to block the growth of weeds) is different from what I shoot for with compost (a fine, nutrient-rich material for use as organic fertilizer). The raw leaves are closer to compost, although leaves tend to blow or float away. There may be an intermediate stage when you could take out incompletely digested compost for use as mulch, but if you tried to mulch with the finished product I fear you’d have the happiest weeds in town.
    But your mileage may vary. There seems to be a wide gap between common composting advice and actual practice. For instance, most sources recommend an equal mix of green (grass clippings) and brown (leaves). But in Austin, grass clippings are plentiful in spring and summer while leaves are plentiful only in fall and winter; short of hoarding leaves in a dry, non-compost-friendly place until summer, I don’t see any way to achieve that balance. Besides which, the same authorities say it’s best to leave the grass clippings on the lawn. So I end up with a mix that’s all leaves in the fall and mostly just kitchen scraps by the end of the summer. (At which point, yes, vermin and smell do become a problem — but only because I stubbornly keep putting out the kitchen scraps despite the lack of enough other material to bury them properly).
    As you can tell, I could go on all day. 🙂 If I haven’t bored you silly yet, here’s more: http://aprendizdetodo.com/garden/?item=20020609

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