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I have an apartment with a balcony - the flooring of the balcony is a lot of wood boards.

My compost bin is a big plastic recycling bin which I have perforated with an awl and rubber hammer on the bottom and sides.

What this means is that when it rains (anything beyond a sprinkle), I have a real hard time turning the compost enough to encourage that water out of the bin.

If I have newspaper around I shred and toss some in to soak up a bit of the water.

My question is if there's any better material I could use to try and absorb the water a bit more. A few days of sun will eventually dry it out, but generally the water really gets trapped between the compost and wood boards, no matter how perforated the bottom is.

edit: I do have a cover and have used as suggested Ed here. This appears to work well barring heavy rain. I have also place bricks under the corners of the bin, which has drained a little water and provided some more aeration.

All the same, I would like to keep the question open a bit longer as I'm still interested in the question of some organic material which may be able to absorb some of this moisture.

Many thanks for your help as the bin is already operating better.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I would put the container in a container. Think about a flower pot and the dish it sits on. Same idea. Can you not cover the recycling bin?

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I could cover it (cover is perforated) but leaving the top on introduces more aeration problems for me. Taking it on and off requires anticipating rainfall (not hard, just a never ending task). A container in a container could work, but it seems like the water would still collect in the compost bin -- not sure however. –  walker May 16 '12 at 17:59
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What about putting your recycling bin on a pallet or on a couple bricks to promote air flow? –  SuppositoryPlacebo May 16 '12 at 18:05
    
This was what I actually ended up doing, and it helps a great deal with aeration and moisture. Although @Grady pulp cartons are handy if available. –  walker May 19 '12 at 17:46

I'd put a cover on it that's easy to remove , and can be propped open on one side. For a McGuyver example, duct-tape a cover to one side, and duct-tape a prop-up stick to the other side of the cover that will hold it open, lean-to-fashion (while still keeping rain out) most of the time. Be sure to consider wind as needed in your situation. The cover should open down-wind for the usual wind direction in that particular spot for storms. Make sure that the side that's attached to the bin extends beyond the bin's edge, so the rain will drain off outside the bin.

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As for materials that absorb water, in my worm bins, I use: Peat moss, cardboard, formed pulp cartons: like egg cartons, drink holders, packing material etc.

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