“I can’t live without a compost bin!” That was me, putting my foot down in the back garden when I was told the compost bin had to go. Some girls can’t live without pedicures, new shoes, or chocolate. I can’t live without a compost bin. Go figure.
He was right, however. The compost bin had to go. It had served us well for over a decade but the black plastic was falling apart, in some places it’d been gnawed apart as rats moved in for a nightly wallow in our rotting waste. The rascals were strewing egg shells, leathered avocado skins, and newspaper remnants across the garden each morning when their debauch compost bin binge was over and they decided — dawn-dazed and gorged — that it was time to go home.
Besides, it was no longer doing its job. In our previous postage stamp-sized back yard the compost bin had been at the peak of its game. My other half converted a larger compost bin into a smaller compost bin to suit our compact lifestyle and the compost had thrived.
There was no special trick: I did my thing — cooked meals from scratch, regularly, which created heaps of vegetable peelings and uncooked scraps — and the bin did its thing. There was no layering, turning, or ventilating involved. After years of practice we were symbiotically in tune. Two or three times a year i’d turf out, and transport, bucket loads of rich compost to the veggie patch. The patch flourished. Everyone one was happy.
Then we moved house and the compost bin decided to throw in the trowel. I’m not sure what it disliked about its new digs — lack of shade, perhaps, or an inferior soil base — but even the cranky old cat was more accepting of his new surrounds.
My point about not being able to live without a compost bin was that we used it daily — it fed a bit of an addiction. It had to be replaced, not trashed. I put it on my to-do list. On a Friday night a few weeks later, after my partner had subtly left a leaflet on a particular brand of bin on my desk, I updated my weekend to-do list: ‘Make a decision about a new compost bin’.
Thankfully he made the decision for me. When I got out of bed the next morning, he was just returning from the garden centre with a brand spanking new bin. I conscientiously updated my to-do list: “Construct new compost bin”. Thankfully he did that for me, too.
So we now have a new compost bin. It’s square where the last one was oval, and tall where the last one was stout, and it has an internal ventilation shaft where its predecessor had none. It even has a “leachate reservoir” at the bottom with a tap to collect liquid fertiliser that can be diluted and watered onto beds.
I keep lifting the lid and taking a peek: there’s natural condensation on the internal, insulated, walls (which never happened with the last draughty bin, even when it was in full swing) and it smells a bit whiffy, in a good way. Everything is healthily rotting. It keeps the smell in and the rats out.
It looks the part, but will it do the job? The proof will be in the pudding — or the compost.