May 18, 2011

When the Compost Bin is Full

LinkUnless you have a very large compost pile, there inevitably comes a time when the compost bin is full but you still have materials that could go into it. Eventually the contents of the full compost bin will decompose further, making room for new compost-able materials, but in the meantime, what should you do with things you can't fit into the compost bin?

* Start another compost bin. Having two or three bins is an excellent idea, if you have the room. While one bin is full and decomposing, you can fill other bins.

* Instead of composting them, refrigerate or freeze vegetable and fruit scraps to make stock with. Most of us don't think about using scraps for this - let alone fruit for this - but it's quite traditional.

* Make "Garbage Soup" with the fruit and veggie scraps you'd normally compost. It's yummy.

* Feed scraps to the chickens. Nearly any food you'd compost is excellent food for chickens, too. They will eat all vegetables and fruits, in addition to meat scraps. A small amount of bread, rice, or pasta is fine, also. Just don't give them anything rotten.

* Use paper products like cardboard for lasagna gardening. (See basic instructions here.)

* Dig a trench. The original compost pile was really a pit or trench where people buried their trash. Anything you'd put in a compost bin can go into a hole in the ground. Cover the composting materials with dirt and the following year, the soil should be great for gardening. Sometimes instead of digging a trench, I lay things I want to compost in low lying areas and cover them with dried leaves, wood chips, or bark mulch.

* Throw it in the trash. Although this won't do anything to improve your living space, things that compost will do the same thing in the landfill as they do in your compost bin: Decompose into something good for the soil.

What do you do when your compost bin is full?

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