Hippie Soil Machine

February 4th

Headed to the composter

When Rebecca gave me this Rachael Ray trash bowl a month ago, I knew it would bring me one step closer to hippie nirvana. You stick the bowl on the counter when cooking, collect your compostable refuse and then drop it off outside to be reconsumed by Mama Nature.

Compost bowl

The only hiccup to this plan was I didn’t have a composter outside and throwing stalks of broccoli on the garden makes the neighbors think you are a wee bit crazy. Plus, they are a pain in the butt to garden around.

Compost Machine!

Enter my fabulous carpenter grandfather who took one look at my composter blueprint and said he’d get right to it. This box smells so good for the time being. I think I’ll always associate the smell of fresh cut wood and sawdust with him. His carpentry skills are just so great.

The Composter!

And so the fun begins. This baby is sitting on my patio and will be filled, somewhat, with carbon and kitchen refuse this Spring. I’m not adding worms because it is already 80 degrees in Phoenix and they’d cook.

To be: Compost

Instead, I’ll throw in the kitchen scraps for the time being. You can’t tell from the photos, but the box sits a bit off the ground. With these holes, the air will circulate and my hippie soil machine will take off!

Three cheers for another step toward sustainability, green living and being a successful gardener. Okay, I’m still working on that last part.


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18 Responses

  1. Yay for Grandpa! He did such a great job. I love the trash bowl too : )

  2. Tina in Duluth February 4, 2009

    That is awesome! Keep us posted on how it works – I might have to commission my dad.

  3. Yay, awesome! I hope it works well, I’ve never had good luck with composters.
    Doesn’t your trash company collect compostable material in a separate bin? Or is that only in Mesa?

  4. Another Erin February 4, 2009

    My FIL lives in Chandler and he started his (awesome) garden last fall. Anyway, he is quite handy…and you should see his composte creation. He took an old barrel, then found two pairs of old roller skates (not inline) at the thrift store, used the wheels so that he can turn it, and then the stoppers for the handles (to turn). It’s SO hard to explain – but it’s genius! I wish I had a picture. Maybe he can send me one! GOOD LUCK!!!

  5. Oh, you’ve re-motivated me. Supposedly you can get discounted compost bins from my town but I’ve never investigated hard enough.

    I tried a compost *heap*, but things didn’t really disintegrate, even after a year. I think our weather might be too dry. Things just ossified.

    Suggestions: would it be possible to put it on the ground so that bugs and worms can crawl up in there? Also, I hear composting will get going faster if you add some actual compost to your new pile – because it already has the right bacteria and whatnot.

    Just what I hear. Like I say, mine didn’t really work. I’m back to putting my carrot peels in the huge “garden refuse” bin on trash day. Which burns me up because the Palo Alto dump charges like $8 for a bag of compost!!

    Don’t get me started.

  6. Yay for compost! I’ve requested a compost tumbler for my birthday…we’ll see just how MUCH my dear husband loves me!
    BTW, you might want to put a tray under that lovely box before it gets too heavy; in my experience, compost in its early stages can drool a bit, and later when it’s turning into quality stuff fit for your garden it might dribble out and you know you don’t want to lose any of it!

  7. I try to remember to do this, and then I throw the scraps to the chickens. Boy do they love it!! They are like garbage disposals – they love lawn clippings, onion skins, watermelon rinds, you name it. (I keep to plants though – something about giving them meat scraps seems kind of disgusting, altho they’d probably eat it)

  8. Oh – that is super cool! Yay for G’pa’s with carpentry skills – they are the best. πŸ™‚

    We have a big old composter that we got from our city (go Fresno) and I’m excited about being able to use my compost when I get ready to plant my kitchen garden!

  9. I find SUCH gratification in composting! It’s so satisfying to empty that bucket onto the pile!

  10. Cool! I’ve been trying to figure out how to do a compost pile that my dog won’t be able to eat from – perhaps a nice wooden box would do the trick!

  11. So inspired by you, Ms. Kelli! Keep us posted on how it goes/what you do with the compost in terms of maintenance/preparation, ok? Aspiring sheep farmers want to know… πŸ™‚

  12. Cristina February 5, 2009

    Nice! I made a bin last summer and this weekend I’ll be using the compost rich soil for gardening πŸ˜€ I agree with Sophie about the tray. I didn’t do that at first and my bin leaked and ants got into it. I fixed it by turning the compost often, keeping it balanced and by placing a container under my bin to collect the leakage.
    Good job on that compost box!

  13. We did the composting and gardening thing when we lived in NY state. However, I find living in AZ very difficult in the gardening areas. So many obstacles: not enough water or too much sun, caliche soil or wildlife munching on your goodies. I will look forward to reading how your sustainable gardening works. You are a determined young woman. I am sure you will suceed where we have failed. Right now, our garden contains only parsley and cilantro. Tomatoes do fair for awhile. Basil does pretty good. Peppers, even jalepenos do lousy. Of course, it could be…we just don’t have that “green thumb” and creative genes. I think you do.

  14. Awesome! Looks great. Your Grandpa is very talented.

    We use an “Earth Machine” and love it. Although in the winter in the frigid north it REALLY fills up because nothing decomposes….ah well, summer will be here soon – right? haha.

    I’m amazed that our compost does not stink at all. It does just smell earthy. We take our meat, dairy etc scraps to the local food/compost drop off area for those things.

    happy composting!

  15. Nice, attractive composter!!! I must say it’s much prettier than my pile of rot in my backyard.

    It’s amazing how dead decaying matter makes things grow.

  16. The composter you grandfather made for you is awesome Kelli. How special! Enjoy your composting!

  17. If I was a dude I would marry you, i have never met anyone so passionate about life. You inspire me…when is your wedding day?

  18. Yay for composting! Neal and I have been composting kitchen scraps since I moved in in 2006, and he estimates we’ve cut our curbside garbage in half. We now have three huge piles (we’ve got about an acre and tons of trees= leaves in fall) going at all times…last year I got to feed my garden with this yummy stuff! Enjoy it!