Dream Seed Farms

Monday, May 16, 2011

DIY Compost Bin

So, we have been collecting wood and the like that has washed ashore over the past week and a half. We finally gathered all the components for a compost bin after a trip to the junk pile in the middle of the island.

Here is a day's work towards building our first ever compost bin. None of the wood matches, nothing is square, nothing is level, nothing is straight, but all it cost us was a few bags of screws and nails from the 100 Yen store (dollar store) and the electricity to charge up my cordless drill!

We found four wooden pallets of four distinctly different dimensions for the walls, plus other pallets to tear apart for scrap and fill wood.

The orange and yellow things are buoys that were broken in half by the tide. They are usually used for seaweed farming, with an anchor on the bottom end of a very long piece of rope that guides kombu (kelp) up where it can be harvested from boats. They are so big that I think Michie and I both could fit in side! The islanders rig up their shed roofs to drain rain water into them for their gardens. I wanted to do the same, but I had neither the tools to cut one open, nor an actual buoy to cut open...until theses washed up on shore.

More pallets for scrap, sheet metal for the roof and a mountain of sukanpo roots in the background (incidentally a mound twice as big as me, that we dug up from two small garden beds). The pallet scrap I used like wooden siding to fill in the large gaps between the pallet planks because we have a flock of very boisterous and clever crows that pick through everything. Hopefully the gaps are small enough to keep their beaks out but big enough to let air circulate.

After about 6 hours, I had the four pallets sided, upright and screwed to four posts on concrete blocks (which we found too!). The roof is tomorrow's project, as well as rigging up the buoy halves to catch rain water...

This is the view looking down the hill over our garden beds. The inner walls are a hodgepodge of scrap wood nailed in place to fill in the gaps and broken planks. I did the math and this thing will hold about 60 cubic feet (1.7 cubic meters) of compost when all full, though that will take a lot of weeds and kitchen scraps to fill up...or a day or two of sukanpo root pulling!!!

Apropos sukanpo, the weeds are taller than me now since we had a nice rain a few days ago followed by a lot of sunshine. They almost completely obscure the compost bin. I cannot wait to chop them down, dig them up and pile them in the bin!

The more we compost the better and more productive our gardens will become once we add it back to the earth. If we are able to incorporate a composting toilet down the road, we will also be able to complete the nutrient cycle, returning as much as possible to the land that feeds us.

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