“A Sense of Humus”

Catherine Volic | Metro West Boston | Gardening with ChildrenThat was the phrase printed on the box that arrived at our house a few days ago. (Humus = the organic component of soil.) Cute, huh? The box contained our new Soilsaver compost bin. In pieces, of course. With just this tiny plastic wrench and Sweetgum Horticulture | Gardening with Children | Compost Bin12 tiny plastic nuts and bolts to hold it all together. What might have been a tiresome chore turned into a fun afternoon project when my son decided that helping his mother build a compost bin would be even more fun than taking apart and rebuilding a Lego truck for the umpteenth time.

Sweetgum Horticulture | Catherine Volic | Building a Compost BinIn this case, having my son “help” really was useful, as he could slip through the door at the bottom and tighten up the nuts from the inside, so that I did not have to bend over awkwardly or try to hop in myself. And for him, it was like a giant Erector set and fort that he could hide in, all in one.

How would I rate this compost bin? So far, pretty good. Definitely beats the old one, purchased from the town recycling center. The body of that one came in two pieces that never lined up properly. After a few years, I could only use the bottom half of it. This spring, I plan to re-purpose the two round halves as planters for gourds, which will benefit from the soil heating provided by the black plastic walls.

Sweetgum Horticulture | Metro West Boston | Gardening with ChildrenThe body of this new compost bin comes in one piece so I don’t have to worry about it falling apart. It has a locking top (slightly warped, but functional) that is essential for keeping animals out of the bin. It has a door at the bottom to remove finished compost, but I have never found this feature useful on a compost bin. There usually isn’t enough Sweetgum Horticulture | Catherine Volic | Compost Bineasily removable compost at the bottom, and the door tends to get jammed with the compost that has spilled out when you try to close it again. But the door did prove useful for my son when he wanted to get into the bin to tighten the screws!

The lid requires two hands to open, which is a slight downside, and one of the locks is difficult to engage, but all in all I am happy with this bin. The plastic panels are very heavy-duty, and despite the diminutive plastic screws holding these together, the bin seems quite sturdy. Compared to many other compost bins on the market, it was very reasonably priced. That, and the fact that it is made from 100% recycled plastic, were the big selling points.

Sweetgum Horticulture | Wellesley | Compost BinComposting is such an easy way to reduce pressure on our landfills, while at the same time creating the best soil amendment you can use, for free! And it’s fun to have an excuse to walk through the garden to empty the compost pail. You return with a healthy outdoor glow AND a feeling of satisfaction for having done something to help the environment.

This is a great time to get started with composting. The lack of snow cover means you can install your bin right now. As part of the “Get Outside and Play” Package or the “Big Ideas” Package, I can help you choose a compost bin, find the best spot in your yard to place it, and give you easy tips for managing the compost.

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Sweetgum Horticulture is serving clients in the Metro West communities of Boston, MA, including Wellesley, Weston, Newton, Needham, Natick, Wayland, Lincoln, Dover, Sherborn and Sudbury.

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