Making New Dirt

April 9, 2016 0 Comments

If you have ever had any sort of garden, you know that you will always have yard waste. Many communities will let you put it in paper bags that you have to buy and then place on the curb. But only on certain days. Others have available brush dumps or county compost piles. Or you can create your own compost pile. We did that at the Vinton Youth Garden a few years ago.


Old Compost bin


One of the AmeriCorps groups came out and put it together for us. It wasn’t pretty, but it held a lot of garden debris… meaning weeds and old plants. We keep the sticks out of it. They go into the bed of an old pickup that will take the sticks and branches to the brush dump on the other side of the river.  We made sure to add paper and cardboard along with some actual dirt every so often so that the pile would break down correctly and evenly.

This process worked out pretty well. We were getting some nice new soil to develop at the bottom of the pile, but we had a problem. It was getting too full of newer material and we couldn’t turn it enough. So what do we do when we need to have a better solution and we have very little money?  Ask for pallets. One of the former neighbors happened to be putting in an artwork corncob on the corner (I’ll show this in another post) when I happened to mention my idea. He told me he had plenty and the next day, a pile of pallets showed up!

One of my fantastic volunteers brought a bunch of solid fence posts and my Extension Coordinator brought out his post driver. I took advantage of the nice, windy Sunday last week… especially after a nice stretch of rainy days to soften the ground. I spent an hour finding out how out of shape I am and could barely lift my arms afterward, but we now have three new compost bins.

New Compost bin 3

New Compost bin 2


The pallets will allow air to flow through and help break down the material faster. We can have three going at once or just have the three start at different times. Either way, we will keep the larger bin. That will be where the kids can just dump everything during the cleanup process and we can spread it out from there.

It looks the like kids will have even more fun making their own dirt!

Dig it!


Filed in: Youth Garden

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