Thursday, August 21, 2014

Location, Location, Location

Guest post from Belinda Bankes Frykman

Several years ago I decided to venture out and start backyard composting. My backyard is rather small and I wanted to make sure to keep any furry friends out of the compost, so purchased a compost bin. I cleared out a level space behind my detached garage that was discrete and protected from winter wind. I kept a pathway through the small wooded area next to the bin maintained so I could get to the bin. The first year or so, it worked well. I didn’t have a lot of material to put in the bin, but felt good not wasting what scraps I did have.

Then, as does happen, I got busy. I started clearing the path less often, didn’t take scraps out to the bin nearly enough and my kitchen collector got really gross. Like furry mold and maggot-filled gross. (I kind of forgot I sat it on the steps next to the back door.) I tossed the putrid kitchen collector and vowed to start fresh in the spring.

Only spiders can access this compost bin!
This spring brought lots of beautiful new growth in the wooded area behind my garage. My postage stamp-sized yard became my own little slice of heaven. The problem was, my compost bin was also surrounded by lush greenery, literally. There were several vines wrapped around the bin and access to the little door on the side was impossible. Not that I needed to harvest the compost—after neglecting it for over two years, there wasn’t much going on in there. It was basically a spider hotel. Behind the garage is a great location for a spider hotel, but not for an accessible compost bin.

So last weekend, I grabbed my garden gloves and pruning shears, and got to work. I cut the vines from around the bin, pulled back the ground cover, trimmed honeysuckle branches out of the way, and carefully avoided the poison ivy. The thick ground cover didn’t give me easy access to the plastic screws that secure the bin to the earth, but I kept trimming until I found them. Once the screws were removed, the bin lifted easily. I rinsed the spiders off from the inner walls (sorry guys) and scouted out a new location for my cleaned-up bin.

Two 8 oz. glasses of juice produce all these scraps!
After years of neglect, my compost bin deserved a good location for it’s new home: shaded, level, somewhat protected from wind. And this time around, I wanted to make sure it wouldn’t get swallowed up by my little slice of heaven. More than anything, I wanted easy access to my bin. I’m making my own vegetable and fruit juices, which tend to have a decent amount of unusable scraps, and I just can’t send all those colorful scraps off to waste in the landfill!

It's super easy taking scraps out to my compost bin now!
I chose a spot close to the edge of my property line, near my green space, but not in it! I can see the bin from my kitchen window—a good reminder to use it. And now the bin is only a few yards from my back door. No more hacking through a small wilderness just to drop a few rotten berries into the bin! I know my compost will be happier and healthier in its new location. And so will I—now that I can juice with abandon and not feel guilty generating a mound of unusable scraps every day. My compost bin will certainly welcome all the vegetable and fruit scraps I have to give…along with other yard and food scraps, of course.

Now I’m off to the farmers market to gather the ingredients for my next delicious juice creation. Cheers!

Delicious and nutritious!


  1. Good work Belinda! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Bravo!
    Mine is on the side of our open back yard partly shaded by treesfrom 1:00 on. Every week we bury the compost saved in our kitchen container in our compost pile. Should we be adding more dry....shredded paper, or dry yard waste?...grass clippings....

    1. Yes, I would recommend adding some shredded leaves or paper everytime you add food scraps. This will help keep the balance in the bin.

  3. Poison ivy is the worst. Congrats on the getting the compost bin back into action. This blog looks like a wealth of knowledge, time to dig in!

  4. Sounds so adventurous. I am already addicted to this website because I have been trying for years to create some great compost, great soil, and an amazing garden. I clicked on this section to get some information regarding where to set the bin, in full sun, no sun, half sun half shade, full shade, ya know...? I'm new, and still new to the website so I'll keep searching and see if I can get an answer. -OR- Can somebody please help me out on this one. >>? Thank you kindly

    1. Your compost bin will work in any sun or shade scenario. It will heat up even in shade. If you put it in the sun, you may need to add water in the heat of summer since it will dry out faster. But it will heat up faster too. I prefer a part shade, part sun.

  5. OOps..I did forget!! Thank you so much Belinda Bankes Frykman!! You are WONDERFUL!