The Q&A Archives: Composting in Arizona

Question: Could you give me some info on composting? What should I use to build a box for it, what can I use for materials, should I get earthworms for it?

Answer: Composting can be done in a bin or a heap. The microbes that do the work don't care if you have a bin or not! Bins can be constructed of almost anything. I think the easiest and cheapest bin is a circle of wire mesh. I like to use galvanized 1"X 2" wire because it holds the stuff in well and can be purchased in heights around 48", just right for composting. It takes a bin width of 4' or more to really compost well, so plan on using 12 to 15' of wire.

Bend the wire in a circle and either bend the ends back on themselves or purchase spring clips at a hardware store and install them for easy hooking. When the bin is ready to turn, simply unhook the clips, remove the wire and set it up next to the old spot. Then turn the compost into the empty bin. This has worked well for me.

Composting happens quickly when you mix equal parts of brown and green organic wastes that have been shredded prior to mixing. Make sure and moisten the material as you fill the bin. For a detailed description of composting try visiting this internet site:

Although it is designed for kids, I think you'll find it useful. Do a net search for "composting" and you will find a multitude of excellent sites. Just remember, organic matter will decompose in time with or without our efforts. Keep your mix moist, and don't worry if it takes a little longer than some sources suggest. Even half composted "leaf mold" makes a great garden additive.

By the way, I like your e-mail address...very creative!

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