I went to one of LA's composting education sessions on Saturday in Griffith Park. The main reason I went was because following the 1/2 hour session, they sell compost bins at discount prices. I have been wanting to get 1 or 2 extra compost bins because my current method of adding to the top and taking from the bottom was just unworkable. First of all, it takes forever to make the compost - over a year! Second, it is hard to separate the finished compost from the material that isn't done decaying. With more than one bin, I can add to a pile until it fills up, then transfer the whole pile to an empty bin, freeing up the 1st one for new material. Then I can take care of the 2nd bin by mixing it regularly and keeping it the right moisture level. This way, the entire 2nd bin will turn into good compost all at the same time. I should be able to get a full batch of compost this way every 4 to 6 months.
I ended up buying 2 BIO-STACK bins at $45 each. The regular price is supposed to be $90. The bin is layered in 3 sections, which makes it easy to turn the pile. I just have to take off one layer at a time, restacking them next to the original pile. As I stack the layers to form the second bin, I scoop material out of the first one into the second one. To get my new bin started, I took all the unfinished compost from my original Rubbermaid bin. I used a strainer made of a 1/4 inch mesh to separate it from the finished compost. The finished compost ended up filling 2 Avon boxes which is just in time for spring planting.
Today I went to the nursery and picked up some new seedlings: soybeans, roma tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, and a marigold plant. I also planted some onions and cucumbers from some seeds I already had. I added the potent mixture of fresh compost, peat moss, and vermiculite, which was suggested in Square Foot Gardening, so I'm expecting some good crops this year.