One drawback to container gardening is the requirement of a good potting mix. As anyone who has bought a bag of Miracle Grow mix recently can attest, the stuff just doesn't come cheap. Also, there's the ever present possibility of getting a little something extra in your store-bought soil from who-knows-what chemical fertilizers to pesky plant diseases. If you want the peace of mind that comes from all organic soil...well that costs extra.
So, with all this in mind, I've embarked on a little experiment that will hopefully be good for my wallet, good for my plants, and good for the ecosystem. I am going to begin recycling dead plant matter, leftover vegetables, and other organic material into what should be a rich compost for my future veggies.
I decided to start out small with my experiment and upgrade later on if things work out. So I made a trip to the store and picked up a 64 quart Sterilite container for about $7.00. I chose the clear plastic model because I want the sunlight to get in and heat things up a bit in order to speed the composting process along.After getting home with my new container, I proceeded to take it out back and drill two rows of 1/4" holes around it spaced about 4 inches apart (both between the holes and between the rows). These holes are intended to provide adequate airflow so the much needed bacteria can grow and do its job breaking down the compost material. Also, I drilled a few holes in the bottom for drainage of excess water. As the compost breaks down, I want to keep it warm and moist, but not soaking wet.
Once I finished drilling all the holes, I placed the compost bin in a spot where it would get a few hours of direct sunlight per day, added some old shredded leaves, stems, dirt, crushed eggshells, outdated veggies, and even a little paper. I then wet the contents down mixed it all thoroughly and placed the lid on top. From this point on, I'll add material as it becomes available, sprinkle in a little water as needed to keep moist, and stir/shake the contents up once a week or so. I'll keep you all updated over the next few weeks to let you know how my dirt is coming along!