Wednesday, 17 January 2018

A Year on the Allotment - January - Compost Bins

Allotment Growing - Compost Bin

A Year on the Allotment
A series that aims to help new allotment growers to get started and produce lovely crops to eat.
This post is about getting started on building compost bins and making compost.
This can be added to your plot in future years to improve the soil.

1.2 January - Compost Bins

Compost is a "foundation stone " of the allotment - in my opinion.

Making your own compost on the plot is a great way of recycling goodness back into the ground year on year. It will improve both the fertility and structure of your soil.

It will also save you money - and this is one reason why many allotmenters have a plot in the first place. You'll have less need, or no need, to buy in compost and manure.

Allotment Growing - Compost
Allotment Growing - Compost
So - building a compost bin, or more if possible, is one of the first things to do a a new allotment plot. Making compost takes time so its worth starting right away. It will also help to keep things neat and tidy as you will have somewhere to put stuff as you clear your plot of weeds and other unwanted plants.

Start by planning your layout - on paper, or maybe using a computer based tool if you prefer.

Choose carefully where to put your bins as moving them later would be a pain. Obvious spots are on the edges or corners of the plot. Try to choose a spot that you can get to easily with a wheelbarrow.

The next thing - decide what sort of bin you want.

Plastic "Dalek" Compost Bin
Plastic "Dalek" Compost Bin
A quick solution is to buy (or scrounge for free!) a plastic "dalek" type bin. The advantage of this is a quick fix - just drop into place. The obvious disadvantage is that it may cost money. Some people think these look a bit unsightly, but I don't personally, they are very functional.

But I have found on my plot that these bins are a bit too small to hold all of the material that I want to compost down. So I've build a couple of much larger bins made from wooden pallets.

Wooden Pallet Compost Bin
I've written a post previously about this - so I won't repeat it here - but please comment if you have anything to add or have any questions:
Building A Wooden Pallet Compost Bin

Finally - if you don't have the time or resources to do any of this yet - that's fine. You can just start a compost heap in one corner, pile up any organic waste materials and tidy it up later if you want.

The main point that I'm trying to make is - just get going and get composting - one way or another!

Here are a couple more blog posts on the subject of compost and composting that you might find helpful:

Spring Preparations on the Allotment - Compost - Part One

Spring Preparations on the Allotment - Compost - Part Two

More posts for A Year on the Allotment coming soon.
Get inspired - get going.
Happy growing!

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