Composter course correction

Remember when I overthought my way into adding a composter behind the house? It’s been really handy having the composter so convenient to the kitchen (the picture below is from when I first put the composter in place two years ago).

Patio after

However, it was apparently a little too convenient for someone else too. And we apparently were composting some overly delectable food stuffs (and I apparently haven’t weeded the patio yet this year). Side note: For about the third weekend in a row rain started as soon as I hung up the laundry. So annoying.

Tilted composter

Someone tunneled into the composter, spreading food around and tilting the composter.


So compost clean-up was required–boy, you’re in for a glamourous post today.

I had been hoping to defer this area until the fall, when I can deal with all of the weeds behind the house, pick up rocks and seed new grass–basically what I’ve already done on the other side of the concrete steps. I’d do it all in one shot, level things out–and over-complicate a simple composter installation yet again.

But the composter was too tilted to use, and the smell of compost was making its way up to the kitchen window.

So I decided not to over-complicate things and to just fix the immediate problem.

I picked up the composter and set it aside. It’s light plastic and easily lifted off the ground. Then I scooped the compost that was strewn about into the wheelbarrow and went about releveling the area.

Along the way, I did end up extracting a bunch of rocks–what else is new–but I tried not to get too carried away. It still took Matt and Wiley three trips to take them to the rock pile behind the barn–and these are only from an area that’s about 3 feet by 4 feet. So ridiculous.

Rocks by the composter

Then I was able to set the composter back in place and put the compost back inside. The compost looked really good, and I considered just spreading it right on the gardens, but there was enough food that was still whole that I just dumped everything back in the bin. Soon enough.

I piled a bit of dirt around the bottom of the composter and then spread some grass seed to hopefully help hold everything in place.


The back of the house

So it’s not glamourous, but it looks better–and the kitchen no longer smells like compost.

Still to come, the rest of the back of the house.

Do you have a composter at your house? Have you had any issues with animals getting into your compost pile? How long does it take for your compost to decompose?

10 thoughts on “Composter course correction

  1. My compost just doesn’t seem to be “composting” very well. I apparently don’t have the right mix of greens and browns. I like your contained unit. I am sure the heat that builds up in it helps a lot!

    • We don’t put a lot of thought into our composter. I was a bit surprised how well things have broken down.

      My BIL works in waste management and he is a serious composter. Once he pulled the lid off of his and it was steaming away!

      BTW, I have about 3-4 more of these composters–they came with the farm–and I’d be happy to send one your way, but they’re not that shippable.

      • Well I really appreciate that, but shipping would be a nightmare! Mine will work, I just need to make some adjustments!

  2. I think I’d be worried about mice etc living too close to the house…I had a similar composter in Toronto but it was at the back of the yard. I shoveled a pathway through to it every winter! But it worked well, giving me several wheelbarrows of lovely compost every year, usually in the fall.

    • My husband made that argument that whatever broke into the composter might break into the house. I’ve never noticed anything living in the composter aside from a few insects, so I’m not too worried about it. Plus, living where we do, it’s inevitable that we have a few critters in the house–not that I want to invite more!

  3. Our composter is not composting very quickly either, so we will have to make some adjustments to its contents. Interestingly, we have had black bears in the yard occasionally over the course of several years, and even though they raided the bird feeders, they never touched the compost.

    • I’m really surprised that the bears didn’t try the compost. Some of what I’ve heard is they’re creatures of habit, and if they learn about a food source that’s where they’ll go. So maybe they’re used to bird feeders and it doesn’t occur to them to branch out.

  4. Your kitchen garden is looking good. It has a lot of potential for a pretty garden.
    Our composter, which I thought was composting away, apparently was suffering from a case of indigestion. The side came off it, and the contents are all in there, totally dry, with nothing broken down at all. Yuck! We don’t know what to do with it. It’s a similar one to yours. It’s kind of bothering me! 😦

    • Indigestion 🙂

      It’s a bit gross, but shoveling everything up to have a fresh start worked well for me. This time of year, you might be able to just dump it in a corner of the garden and have a compost pile. That’s how Matt’s family handles their compost year round and it works well for them. I was able to put our composter back in place and it seems to be working okay for us.

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