The results of our layered compost bin gave us a lot of encouragement when we actually saw steam coming from it!
It had been a few weeks since we built and layered our very first compost bin and it was time to check it out and see if it was actually composting. We also wanted to turn it over a bit, and add more water and materials to it as we didn’t have enough the first time. And we had several bags of coffee grinds to also add to it.
We placed a rebar in the middle of the compost bin to test whether or not it was actually warming up and composting. When Nate touched the top of it, it was cold so we didn’t think it was hot composting yet. But, when he pulled out the rebar and touched the bottom of it where it was nestled deep in the compost, it was warm! We were so excited that it was working and that it appeared we were actually doing something right. Another indicator was the steam that we saw coming from the rebar.
This was like a dream come true! I know it may sound a bit odd, but I had been dreaming of composting for a long time and couldn’t shake the guilt I felt throwing away food scraps when we lived in an apartment. We were also building the foundation of our garden to come!
TURNING THE COMPOST
Now it was time to turn over the compost, add more food scraps, toilet paper rolls that I previously used to start seed in, and lots of coffee grinds from the local coffee shop.
It was such a hard job to turn the compost with a pitch fork. I felt like I just didn’t have the arm strength or something and had to get Nate’s help with it. Well, forget the gym because this is a natural workout that I’m sure would build up your strength and muscles without having to lift weights!
As we turned the compost, you could see steam just oozing from the pile. Again, total satisfaction!
LAYERING MORE NATURAL MATERIALS
Next, we worked on adding bags of the coffee grinds. As you can see, we got a lot of coffee grinds from our local coffee shop. This was us learning how to layer a compost bin just by doing it. We had to be aware of some of the trash that was also in the coffee grinds and ended up pulling out random things like a coffee scooper, coffee bag, plastic, and whatever else the baristas threw in there.
As we were layering the different natural materials, we also tried to remember to water in between the layers to keep the whole bin moist.
Then I added in my seed starting containers~ aka toilet paper rolls! Nothing goes to waste around here. Even our reused toilet paper rolls made it into the compost bin!
It was also time to add more leaves to the pile. Nate previously mowed the leaves to grind them down a bit. You don’t actually have to mow the leaves, but the smaller bits does help it to break down faster in the compost bin.
Next, more food scraps. We definitely make a lot of food waste, but I feel so much better knowing that we actually put it to good use!
Then we added more coffee grinds on top of the food scraps. I like to do this as it helps to keep the food smell down and pretty much masks it. We just really loved working with all this delicious and wonderful smelling coffee grinds. Make sure to also get some from your local cafe for your compost bin as well!
Awe how sweet~ we even had a little bee visit our compost bin! We hoped that it would stay around and contribute to our garden later on.
Then we added a final layer of leaves and gave it another good watering.
After another week, we went to turn the compost again to check it out once more. Still more steam, which of course kept us excited and motivated about the whole process!
Wow, it was so cool to see our compost bin experiment actually working! We were doing something right that’s for sure and it was really exciting to see. But, we also knew that we still had a lot to learn!
It definitely took us some time and practice to find the right balance. Over time we slowly learned the right ratio of browns (leaves, cardboard, paper) and greens (food scraps, coffee grinds, fresh grass clippings).
As a city girl, I never thought that we would end up learning how to compost and make a compost bin for ourselves. It was such a satisfying accomplishment to actually do something like this. Oh~ and it was a lot of work though, but so worth it!
All of the work that we put into composting was a true labor of love. Yet once you got it started, it was pretty simple to maintain. As we reflect back to our early days of composting, we realize that it was worth it and that soon we would be able to enjoy the fruits of our labor!
What a wonderful way to partake in God’s nature all around us. It definitely gave us an appreciation for all of creation and the cycle of life that only He has created.
And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands.
CHECK OUT OUR VIDEOS
Thanks for joining us on this journey! We hope that you will find inspiration watching us learn as we go while we’re attempting to renovate and rebuild this old small historic cottage mostly on our own. Stay tuned for more progress updates ahead!
You can also watch a video about this here.
To see more adventures of our tiny fixer upper journey, click on the links below.
👩🏻🌾🍎 HOW WE LAYERED OUR FIRST COMPOST BIN 🍌🥑🥚