What is a Beehive Compost Bin?

What is a Beehive Compost Bin?

Article by Lec Watkins

Since gaining notoriety as an overnight Harrods success, the beehive compost bin has grown in popularity in the United Kingdom. Now, gardening suppliers in the United States are starting to offer beehive compost bins too. But, what is it?

The thinking behind these garden composters is that while garden composting is a worthy pass-time, it is often not very aesthetically pleasing to look at. That is one of the main reason not more gardeners make their own compost, they just have no desire to site a huge plastic eyesore in the garden. For those with huge gardens any type of garden compost bin is easy to hide, either by siting it behind an existing structure, or with imaginative planting.

For those with less space to play with, the ugliness of most commercial and home-made garden compost bins has made finding something suitable really difficult. The beehive compost bins play into our love of an imagined ideal of rural English life. All, church spires, cricket lawns and beehives. There is something just really comforting about the traditional beehive shape.

Now, there are lots of people making compost bins that look very much like old fashioned, wooden beehives. The design is very simple, and to be honest you really would not need an awful lot of carpentry skill to make one yourself. But, back to reality, the chances are most people who end up with one of these pretty garden composters will do so by purchasing, rather than making one.

Each bin is a basically a pretty box, with an apex roof. The sides are wood slats which overlap in a shingle effect. The idea is that your new garden compost bin will be so pretty you can site it anywhere in the garden without it spoiling the view.

Anyone considering buying a beehive compost bin should double check how practical it is. There are some fantastic designs, which allow easy access. You need it to be easy, both to deposit garden waste and kitchen scraps, and to access the finished garden compost for turning and using. Some come with hinged roofs and removable front slats as well as one side which comes away completely. This really is critical. If you find it difficult to access the finished compost, chances are you are not going to continue recycling your garden and kitchen waste in this way in the future.

Also, consider the finish for your new garden composter. The idea, is that they are more attractive than conventional plastic garden compost bins, so are made of wood. But, as lovely as natural wood is, you can actually turn one of these into a real feature of the garden, with imaginative use of paints or stains. My ideal compost bin would be painted in red and white stripes to resemble an English Beach Hut, but that’s just me!

For more information on beehive compost bins and other garden composters visit the Garden Composter site.

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