Wire compost bins

I really can’t get over just how well a couple of 3 foot tall, 3 foot diameter wire cages work for compost!

I have two of these in my backyard, and I’ve dumped leaves, grass, and kitchen compost into them every week since I put them together in January.  

I topped off my first wire compost bin almost immediately with leaves and grass, and then built a second out of more wire.

Now I can’t seem to top off either bin!  The compost gets hot very quickly.  So hot that I can’t comfortably leave my hand in it for more than 10 seconds.  I would guess that this is about 150 – 180 degrees.  (I really need a compost thermometer!)  

Once it cools, I turn over the compost bin by merely picking up the wire cage from around the compost, leaving a tubular section of compost behind.  I set the wire bin down and just shovel the compost back in, turning the pile over and getting it mixed up again.  I also add some green grass in layers during this to kickstart the heating process.

I may add another wire bin this year if I ever manage to top off the compost in the two that I have.  I’ll stop adding fresh cuttings to the best compost this fall, and by Spring next year I should have 170 cubic feet of compost from two compost bins to add to my gardens.

But right now, it’s like some sort of magic trick, seeing the way that compost reduces after filling up a bin is something like putting 10 pounds of sand into a 2 pound bag!  I’m weirdly fascinated by this.