Short Step from Compost Bin to Backyard Farmer

Posted by: Amity Hook-Sopko on


Millions of people are on the path to a greener lifestyle.  It doesn’t matter where you are along your journey; the important thing is to keep taking steps forward… even baby steps count!

What’s a green baby step?  Changing out your light bulbs for CFLs, planting a tree, grabbing a sweatshirt instead of cranking up the heat on a cold day – these are great examples of things it doesn’t take much effort to change.   And they add up to big results over time.

But what about the bigger steps?  Some, like installing a solar panel or geothermal energy system, are intimidating because of the initial investment costs.  Others aren’t expensive, but we have the impression that they’ll take too much time or effort.  Case in point:  Composting.

Attractive Compost Piles Are The Ones You Can’t See: Compost Bins

Jon & Cindy Bake of Bake’s Binster in Portland, OR, say composting gets a bum rap for being messy, smelly, or time consuming.  Cindy Bake tells us, “The most common complaint we hear that homeowners don’t like an unsightly heap of compost in the backyard.  They want it contained in something that looks good, is easy to use, and gets more air circulation.”

Bake’s Binster has done more than just solve their clients’ compost problem, they’ve taken backyard farming to a whole new level with attractive compost bins, or combination bins and storage shed, chicken coop, rabbit hutch, or pigeon cage.  All of Bake’s Binsters are made locally in Portland from high quality, long lasting materials.

How To Compost With a Binster Compost Bin

Rather than composting in a pile, a cedar Binster can be tucked into the corner of your garden.  Bake’s Binster designs each custom-size to match your household’s volume of green waste.  The roof protects compost from the elements, and the clever design hides compost from view, with slats that are easily removed to make turning your compost a breeze.

The Bakes offer these tips on how to start composting with a Binster:

  • Start your compost in the first bin on bare ground.  Cut, shred or chop debris to increase airflow over the materials.  Using the lasagna method, layer brown & green materials to maintain good carbon-to-nitrogen ratios.  Top heap with leaves or soil. Monitor heat and moisture levels; add water or dry materials.  Remove the front slats; turn the new compost every 4-7 days.
  • After 3-4 weeks, transfer compost to next bin, folding outside of pile to the middle.  Turn periodically until compost becomes dark brown with earthy smell and crumbly texture.
  • Transfer compost to the final bin until you’re ready to use it.
  • Use compost as a soil amendment, top dressing or mulch.  Make compost tea to give seedlings a boost or rejuvenate ailing plants.  Add compost to outdoor pots and houseplants.

Add a Chicken Coop, and You’re an Instant Backyard Farmer

We’re learning more every day about the poor conditions, disease, and — of factory farmed chickens.  Keeping hens is an excellent way to protect your family’s health and lessen the demand for factory farms.  Your own chicken coop will provide more nutritious eggs, natural fertilizer, compost, and pesticide-free insect control.

Cindy Bake says another problem their customers have is animals getting into chicken coops.  That’s not a problem with Bake’s Binster coops.  “Our coops are sturdy and we use 14 gauge galvanized wire that keep predators out.”

The Future of Composting

The Bakes say they think as more states and municipalities encourage environmental awareness, the backyard composter will be the natural way to go.  They anticipate neighborhoods, schools, and restaurants to start composting.

“We want to help broaden the understanding of compost use and promote grassroots awareness of composting.  Educating by promoting the use of renewable resources in landscaping, horticulture and agriculture.  Most of all making compost a habit,” that’s the goal at Bake’s Binster.

Originally posted 2010-02-02 10:42:46. Republished by Blog Post Promoter