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Compost is a wonderful and nutritious addition to any garden work, agricultural planting or landscaping. Disused wheelie bins make a terrific pot for a sizable amount of compost. Many homes and homeowners have old or unused wheelie bins lying around collecting dust and the occasional stray paper airplane, but disused wheelie bins make for some terrific composters with little more than an opened lid, and an improvised tap at the very bottom of the bin so that liquid plant food can be taken out and used throughout the garden.
Making a compost bin out of a wheelie bin might seem none too different from implementing compost anywhere else, and while most of the essential compost supplies follow along the lines of standard compost purchases, the challenge of the wheelie bin is the challenge of transforming an otherwise enclosed and inaccessible area into a breathing bin for healthy, nutrient rich compost.
Many entrepreneurial recyclers have outfitted their wheelie bins with a variety of hinges for better circulation, a metal grid set up to air circulation and watering, and even makeshift air vents applied throughout the bin to improve the air flow. Compost bins require little more than an opened lid and some airflow cuts on the side and bottom, but the shape and dimensions of standard wheelie bins make them the perfect raw material with which to outfit into a compost collector.
To create the fancy compost bin above you will need:
> Metal cutters
> Measuring sticks
> Plastic lug tap
> Marker pen
> Tape measure
> Perspex if you wish to be able to see your compost (if you do use perspex make sure it is flush fitting to the plastic on the bin. If there are any gaps the smell will seep out, the heat required for the compost will be less and you will also possibly lose some of the compost liquid.)
Wheelie bins are soundly constructed and run very little risk of falling apart regardless of how many holes are punched into the material, so they are the perfect pot of clay with which to mould any number of stylish compost bins. But before any actual reconstruction can begin, wheelie bins both old and new need to be thoroughly cleaned out with water and soap so that no discarded rubbish or mould will accumulate in the compost.
Once the wheelie bin is cleaned, a thorough assessment of the outside and the interior is due, and depending on how deep the dimensions, certain people might find the construction of the wheelie bins too deep and too difficult for compost at the very bottom. Hatches, grids and other framework can be implemented inside of the bin to keep the compost within arm's reach.
One of the reasons why wheelie bins are so suitable for compost bins is their mobility and manoeuvrability, and it's important to keep those things in mind during the construction so that overly eager recyclers won't find themselves outfitting their humble wheelie bin into an awkward and slanted version of its former self, removing much of the benefit in using a wheelie bin in the first place.
Also, it's important to check for areas where the compost might clog, and revise the interior of the wheelie bin to be better suited for any irrigation or draining of water. Most wheelie bins are going to present irrigation problems near the base of their construction, necessitating some manner of implement to hold up the compost and allow the rinsing of any water or moisture, while the sealed nature of most rubbish bins necessitate some drilling and cutting in order to open up ventilation.
Depending on the design of the wheelie bin, holes might already be present, but most bins are made to expressly contain and seal away rubbish, and this design will need to be turned inside out when the bin is redesigned for compost. Airflow, circulation and rudimentary irrigation areas are essential for any good compost wheelie bin.
Steps to turn your wheelie bin into a composter:
> Gather the tools as per the above bullet points.
> Nearly every wheelie bin will have a wheel arch at the bottom which can be a real problem area for collecting of material. To counter this use a fine mesh which will keep the compost above it but allow the liquid to seep through.
> Cut holes for air vents (you can pick up thin plastic vents from your local DIY shop).
Now we have armed you with the necessary advice its time to pick up tools and get to work on your new compost bin.
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