Things worms don’t eat can be composted outside.

That’s why I like having both.
If you’re lucky enough to have outdoor space, then it’s easy to start a compost bin.
Outdoor bins are more forgiving then worm bins, but there’s still a formula to follow:
A successful compost bin has three essential ingredients:
  • Air
  • Water
  • Organic materials*

* There are two types of organic materials: BROWNS and GREENS.  Browns include dead yard waste, fallen dried leaves, and woodier, carbon-rich materials.  Greens include food waste, grass clippings, and weeds.  Greens are nitrogen-rich substances.  The ideal Carbon: Nitrogen ratio is approximately 4 to 1.  In otherwords, for whatever greens you add to the pile, you should add four times as many browns.

Building your bin:

Retailers offer a lot of options in plastic bins, but you can also build an easy bin inexpensively out of wood, trellis, or chicken wire.

For city dwellers living in Chicago, there are some basic rules you must follow:

  • Bin dimensions should not exceed 3 ft. x 3 ft. x 3 ft.
  • Bin must have a top, bottom, and four sides
  • Airation openings should be no greater than 1/4 in.

* It’s important that you protect your bin from rodent infestation.  A general rule, besides the ordinances above, is to never “dump and run”.  That is, for every time you dump food wast in your bin, cover it with browns to reduce the odor.  As with a worm bin, don’t add any meat or dairy products, and never dump pet waste in your bin.

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