Making Compost, Reducing Waste, Saving Money

making compost in recycled pallet containers
Making compost in recycled pallet containers

Making compost is a great way to reduce waste and nourish the soil. It also saves money if you are in the habit of buying ready made compost. And it’s easy.

Making Compost in Triple Bins

Above are our triple compost bins made from old pallets. They are the perfect size for hot composting (faster composting) as you want your pile to be 3 feet wide x 3 feet high to make sure it heats up in the middle. You can, of course, just make it in a pile or heap. The idea behind having three bins is to have one that you’re adding material to, one that’s being left to rot down (usually for 6 or 7 months) and one that’s finished and being used in the garden or pots.

making compost from kitchen scraps and other materials

What to Put in the Compost

  • kitchen scraps of raw vegetable origin (cooked food will moulder)
  • used tea bags
  • coffee grounds
  • grass cuttings
  • leaves and twigs
  • weeds that have not gone to seed
  • garden waste such as dead or finished plants
  • seaweed
  • hair and nail trimmings
  • the contents of your hoover bag/bin
  • ripped up cardboard, the lower quality the better

You’re looking to get a good variety of layers in there to balance the nitrogen from green things and the carbon from brown things.

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Doing It Wrong Can Be Right!

When we first started composting we did it all wrong in this container:

making compost in a plastic container

We used exclusively kitchen scraps which went a bit smelly and gooey. However, after about a year the goo did return to being basically soil and proved to be an exceedingly rich food for the plants. The ones that had a layer of this fertiliser in their pots or beds grew significantly larger than the ones that didn’t. So it can be done like that, even if you don’t want to use it for growing; it still reduces waste and returns veg scraps to the soil. The ground around compost bins always becomes beautifully rich, as you can see with the nettles above. And we don’t mean to knock the plastic bins – they can be very handy for smaller spaces.

making compost and growing squash

We intend using the wee boxes at the base of our pallet bins above to grow squash in next year.

No Dig Potatoes

Another use for cardboard in the garden is to lay it down on the ground to prepare the soil to be used in a “no dig” manner. The grass will rot away and you’ll be left with bare soil. We’re doing it over winter for next spring’s growing. We’ll then lay the seed potatoes on the ground without digging and cover them in a thick layer of grass cuttings which we will replenish throughout the summer. Potatoes should grow well in that – we will report back!

no dig poatatoes
Weighed down with old roof tiles.

Related posts

sunflower
A sunflower growing by the upcycled polytunnel (more to come on that later).

The Secret Gardening Club always have great offers of overstock from nurseries:

Upcycling Pallets into benches and tables

Upcycling old pallets is great fun and really frugal too…

Upcycling pallets into benches

This is not so  much a how-to post as an inspirational one. If you can get free pallets – and many companies are happy to give the old ones away rather than paying for disposal – there’s lots of things you can do with them!

Upcycling pallets

We made some garden seats!

Upcycling pallets

Woodland ones painted green:

Upcycling pallets
Upcycling pallets

A bit of purple:

Upcycling pallets

And a table too!

There are good books with more instruction and inspiration to be seen here and you can even buy (or make!) waterproof cushions for them!

Our favourite is the pink!

If you liked this upcycling pallets article, see Growing a Food Forest, lawns to food.

upcycling pallets

Autumnal Cooking and Garden Capers

autumnal cooking
leek and potato soup

That Autumnal Feeling…

There’s a definite quality to the sunshine and breeze now. It’s autumn here in Scotland. The leaves are just starting to turn and it’s weather for soup and time to start thinking about log fires.

Autumnal Cooking

Leek and Potato Soup, pictured above. Included are two recipes, one very basic and mashed and the other a little fancier with peas.
Roast Pumpkin and Garlic Pasta, works well with butternut squash too.
Roast Potatoes with lots of variations detailed.
Chick Pea Curry
Apple Pie and Fruit Crumble

Garden Capers

We’re busy in the garden building new compost bins with reclaimed pallets. You can read about some of our other upcycled pallet projects here. We’ve also been sowing coriander, radishes and winter lettuce.

Useful YouTube Channels

Bonny Prepping Quine: building an old style kitchen pantry for food security.
Huw Richard’s frugal and free gardening advice.

In case you missed it last time

Olio is an app that you can download to your phone to share food in your local area. People share things that they can’t use up in time, while farmers and gardeners sometimes offer produce that they have too much of. We’ve added this information to our free food section but you can just search for the app.

Cheap Food and Clothing

Clearance food outlets Low Price Foods and Approved Foods are well worth a regular check as they get new products in often.

Everything5Pounds: the £2.50 sale is still ongoing. This is the longest we’ve ever seen it last!

May autumn bring you lots of beautiful sunny days and delicious autumnal cooking!

All at Frugal Living in the UK
http://www.frugal.org.uk

and on Twitter: https://twitter.com/frugaluk
and now, Facebook!

Cooling Recipes and Pallet Furniture

It’s hot. It was hot at 8am this morning, properly hot, here in Scotland as we sat on the bench above and drank our tea. We hope you’re getting a chance to do cooling things like paddling in the sea and/or eating ice lollies.

Back to that bench; it’s one of our recent pallet creations. There’s a new post about them here!

Food for the heat: minted noodle soupice lollies, Bean Burgers, Rice Salad, Hummus, Raw Chocolate Bites and actually, though it may seem somewhat counter intuitive, curry!

Popular pages just now:
Days Out and Holidays
Make a Few Pounds

The John Lewis Clearance is underway. See The Sales page for more bargains.

Don’t miss the daily deals from clearance food specialists Approved Food. We regularly fill our cupboards with them!

Keep cool!

All at Frugal Living in the UK
http://www.frugal.org.uk

and on Twitter: https://twitter.com/frugaluk
and now, Facebook!