Is there anything uglier than one of those black plastic compost bins in the garden?
It’s alright, you are safe, I’m not going to go on a rant about how much I dislike them.
We disguised one of ours by making a box out of timber offcuts to put over it and the box looks like a beehive.
We call it the Beehive (very original) and painted it blue.
Why blue? Apparently bees are attracted to blue, that Beehive painted blue is a bit like a beacon for bees.
We need to attract more bees into our garden, large bee numbers are noticeably absent in our garden.
Side note: Since the commercial strawberry farms (who aren’t organic) have moved in to our area on a larger scale than when we first shifted here, there are less bees in our garden, is that a coincidence?
Let me back up a bit and give you some back ground details about the Beehive & the garden bed it is in.
~ The problem is the solution ~
There is a smallish garden bed (it isn’t a raised bed) in the middle of our Kitchen Garden approx. 3m long x 1.5m wide.
We decided to grow bee attracting flowers in the bed, to help encourage the bees in to our garden and for them to hopefully help pollinate our fruits and vegetables.
The soil in the garden bed was like powdery grey chalk, lack lustre, everything we planted was struggling regardless of digging a larger hole than the plant going in, filling the hole with compost, planting the plant into the compost and once planted adding a thick layer of hay mulch. In the past we have found this method to work well, the plant settles in, over time the plant is nourished by the surrounding compost it is planted in and the hay mulch breaks down feeding the soil and attracting worm activity.
After a couple of years the plants still seemed to be just struggling along. They needed an extra boost.
By placing a compost bin smack bang in the middle of the garden bed and filling it up meant an increase in worm activity, a micro climate created and when the compost was ready all we had to do was take the Beehive away, lift the black plastic compost bin away, spread the compost over the garden to add organic matter, it builds up soil structure, feeding the plants before adding an extra top up layer of hay mulch.
Then it is just a matter of repeating the cycle. Placing the compost bin back, refilling it, putting the Beehive cover over it.
~ Maintenance ~
Two years down the track and the beehive needed a fresh coat of paint. Lil took on the job since it is part of her home schooling studies, permaculture gardening.
The Beehive is still in good condition, no nasty surprises or new residents. Just a couple of spiders that obviously hadn’t been there long, they weren’t big and hairy or scary. Don’t let that put you off making your own Beehive, the positives out way the couple of spiders.
The weatherboards aren’t rotting and everything is still in tip top condition.
So far there has been 3 compost bins filled with garden waste magically turned into 3 lots of compost made and spread over the garden bed. All that compost nourishing the garden.
~ Convenience ~
No shovelling compost and wheelbarrowing it around the garden.
Just filling the compost bin up with weeds, garden clippings, layers of soiled hay from the guinea pig hutches, then leaving it to heat up and turn in to compost. Easy peasy.
Adding the Beehive over the black plastic compost bin gives an extra layer of insulation helping to heat the contents in the compost bin faster, the quicker compost is made the quicker we can spread it on the garden and produce more.
~ Total cost ~
The timber weatherboard offcuts were saved from going to the tip, we already had the nails left over from previous projects.
We paid for a can of paint, applied three coats of paint when the Beehive was initially built. The can of paint was then stored properly and two years later reused for a paint freshen up. Lil applied two coats of paint.
~ Results ~
The garden bed is flourishing, everything has at least doubled in size, the plants, bulbs & roses are more robust, healthier and resilient on hot days.
We will be making some more Beehives to place over compost bins and dot them around the garden.
~ Possum proof ~
An added bonus is the possums can’t get into a black plastic compost bin if it is inside a Beehive. Penny our resident possum has previously been known to knock the bricks off the top of a black plastic bin lid, flip the lid open, somehow the compost bin landed on its side, all in the name of finding the pumpkin scraps!
There are so many different ways to contribute to a greener plant aren’t there?! Little by little we can all make a difference in our own backyard and all our backyards added up together make a big beautiful impact.
Beehive Compost Bin.
December 16, 2019