What is a Dalek Bin?

The Dalek bin is a lightweight, compact composting bin is made out of recycled plastic, that is perfect for small areas. Its size makes it suitable for use in most homes and gardens as it can be easily moved from one area to another whenever necessary. 

Its design—reminds us of Daleks from the Dr Who series. Dalek Bin’ are a popular choice of compost bins, their size ranges from 200 to 300 litres. Although they provide adequate space for casual composters and those starting out their journey in composting, they might not be suitable for more experienced composters who aim to create hot and efficient compost piles.

How do Dalek Bins work?

In simple words, a Dalek bin is just a closed plastic box, so there is no hard science behind the working of a Dalek Bin. You simply put organic stuff in the bin and with time it is turned into compost.

Extracting compost from the bottom of the bin can be a little tricky, as you will need to use a spade through the hatch at just the right angle. It is designed to provide good compost if you fill it with the right mixture of organic materials like a green and brown waste.

How to create the best compost with Dalek Bin?

When it comes to composting in a Dalek Bin, it requires time to master it and not everyone can get the best compost out of it. This is because its hard plastic material doesn’t allow air water and sunlight to get into it and the compost ends up drying which ultimately slows down the process. It’s really important to follow the right steps or else it won’t be effective composting.

You need to take care of the following 3 things to get the best compost out of a Dalek Bin

  • Get the right materials for composting
  • Placement of the Dalek Bin
  • Maintaining Moisture inside Dalek Bin
  • Mix it from time to time.
  • Pest Control before they ruin it.

Add organic matter throughout the season

Organic matter is incredibly important for the success of an allotment as it adds nutrients to the soil and helps promote healthy plant growth. Organic matter can be anything from grass clippings, kitchen scraps, shredded newspaper, or manure. Incorporating organic matter into your allotment will result in a superior amount of greens and browns which are essential for a healthy composter.

  • Greens are weeds, grass clippings, manure, plant stems, vegetables and fruits, egg shells and farm animal manure.
  • Browns are cardboard minus the staples and sellotape, fallen leaves, fruit bush prunings, straw and newspaper.

Composting Process with a Dalek Bin

Follow these steps to optimize the composting process with your Dalek bin:

  1. Adding Materials: Layer your composting materials, starting with a base of browns and alternating with greens. Moisten the layers as you go, ensuring they remain as damp as a wrung-out sponge.
  2. Turning the Compost: Periodically turn the compost using a garden fork or compost aerator to provide oxygen and promote decomposition.
  3. Monitoring Temperature and Moisture: Check the temperature regularly using a compost thermometer. The ideal range is between 110°F and 160°F (43°C to 71°C). Adjust moisture levels as needed to keep the compost damp but not waterlogged.
  4. Troubleshooting: If you encounter issues like foul odors or slow decomposition, refer to the troubleshooting section for practical solutions.

Accelerating Composting in a Dalek Bin

To expedite the composting process, consider the following techniques:

  1. Proper Layering: Ensure a good mix of browns and greens in each layer, finely chop or shred larger materials, and maintain a balanced moisture level.
  2. Shredding Materials: Shredding or cutting materials into smaller pieces increases their surface area, allowing for faster decomposition.
  3. Compost Activators: Add compost activators like finished compost, aged manure, or commercially available products to speed up decomposition.
  4. Ideal Conditions: Maintain proper moisture, aeration, and temperature levels to create an environment conducive to microbial activity.

Maintenance and Care of Your Dalek Bin

To keep your Dalek bin running smoothly, follow these maintenance tips:

  1. Regular Turning: Turn the compost every few weeks to ensure even decomposition and discourage odors.
  2. Odor Management: If you notice unpleasant odors, add more browns and turn the compost to increase aeration.
  3. Pest Prevention: Avoid adding meat, dairy products, or oily foods to your compost to deter pests. If necessary, cover your compost with a layer of browns or use a fine mesh to keep critters out.
  4. Troubleshooting: Refer to the troubleshooting section for solutions to common issues such as excess moisture, pests, or slow decomposition.

Choose the right location for your Dalek Composters.

When looking for the ideal spot for your Dalek composter bin, it’s important to find an area that allows for maximum sunlight and also remains close to where the finished compost can be utilized.

Composting takes up space and with that, consideration should be given to the area in which compost bins will be installed. Make sure there is ample room to turn and stir the compost mix, usually at least equal to the size of the compost bin itself.

Moisture plays a key role in Composting in Dalek Bin

Maintaining a good moisture level is key when composting with organic matter. To achieve this, you can lightly water the organic material with a hose or a watering can after adding it to your composter. Aim to keep the compost moist at all times, especially in hot weather or when using dry materials. You may also choose to leave the lid off of your composter during the summer months to allow for natural rainwater subscription. This helps promote quick decomposition, which is essential for making quality compost!

Pest Control

Pests can be a big problem while composting in Dalek Bin, but you can always prevent them from entering your compost. One way is to use a closed system, such as the Dalek bin system, which does not come with a base. You could add pest control by installing wire mesh around the sides of the bin in order, to create an impassable barrier for unwelcome intruders.

Benefits & Drawbacks of Dalek Bins

Benefits of Dalek Bin

  • Dalek Bins are very affordable and keep the compost managed.
  • Very lightweight and easy to carry when empty.
  • Can be used for Composting on hard surfaces like concrete.
  • Keeps the bad rotting smell of compost inside the bin.
  • It can also be used over concrete or wherever you wanna place it.

Drawbacks of Dalek Bin

  • Composting in Dalek Bin is a very time-consuming process, it can take up to 4 to 24 months depending on the material added for composting.
  • Produces a limited amount of compost so can be only useful for small gardens.
  • Dalek Bins are made out of plastic so they don’t gain any moisture from rain or the atmosphere, so there are chances that compost will dry up completely.
  • It’s difficult to turn compost inside the bin, it requires time to properly learn the art of mixing the compost inside the Bin.

Troubleshooting Common Composting Issues

Here are some common composting issues and their solutions:

  1. Foul Odors: Add more browns, turn the compost for improved aeration, and ensure proper moisture levels.
  2. Excessive Moisture: Add more browns to absorb excess moisture and turn the compost to enhance aeration.
  3. Pests: Avoid adding food scraps that attract pests, cover the compost, or use a fine mesh to keep critters out.
  4. Slow Decomposition: Check if the compost is too dry or lacks sufficient nitrogen. Adjust moisture levels and add more greens as needed.

Harvesting Compost from the Dalek Bin

To harvest finished compost from your Dalek bin:

  1. Wait for Completion: Compost is ready when it appears dark, crumbly, and earthy, typically after 6 to 12 months.
  2. Remove Unfinished Compost: Scoop out any unfinished materials and set them aside for further decomposition.
  3. Collect the Compost: Begin harvesting from the bottom of the bin, where the oldest compost is located. Use a garden fork or shovel to gather the rich, dark compost.
  4. Storage: Store the harvested compost in a covered container or spread it directly on your garden beds, ensuring it is fully incorporated into the soil.

Utilizing Compost: Nourishing Your Garden

The compost produced in your Dalek bin is a valuable resource for your garden. Here are some ways to use it:

  1. Soil Enrichment: Mix compost into your garden soil to improve its structure, water retention, and nutrient content.
  2. Mulching: Apply a layer of compost around the base of plants to suppress weeds, regulate soil temperature, and conserve moisture.
  3. Top-Dressing Lawns: Sprinkle a thin layer of compost on your lawn to replenish nutrients and enhance its health and appearance.
  4. Houseplant Nourishment: Mix compost with potting soil to provide essential nutrients for healthy and thriving houseplants.

Composting Tips and Tricks for Success

Here are a few additional tips to maximize your composting efficiency with a Dalek bin:

  1. Maintain a Composting Journal: Keep track of the materials you add, turning frequency, and any observations to fine-tune your composting process.
  2. Balance Waste Types: Aim for a diverse mix of materials, including different types of browns and greens, for a nutrient-rich compost.
  3. Composting Efficiency: Chop or shred larger materials, maintain proper moisture and aeration, and turn the compost regularly for faster decomposition.

Environmental Benefits of Composting with a Dalek Bin

By composting with a Dalek bin, you contribute to the following environmental benefits:

  1. Waste Reduction: Divert organic waste from landfills, reducing methane emissions, and minimizing landfill space.
  2. Resource Conservation: Reuse organic waste as valuable compost, reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers and preserving natural resources.
  3. Soil Health Improvement: Enhance soil fertility, structure, and water-holding capacity, supporting healthy plant growth and biodiversity.

FAQs: Answering Common Questions

Q: How long does it take to compost in a Dalek bin?

A: Composting time varies, but on average, it takes 6 to 12 months to produce finished compost in a Dalek bin.

Q: Can I compost meat and dairy products in a Dalek bin?

A: It’s best to avoid composting meat, dairy, and oily foods in a Dalek bin as they can attract pests and cause odors.

Q: Can I compost in a Dalek bin during winter?

A: Yes, composting in a Dalek bin is possible during winter. However, decomposition may slow down due to colder temperatures.

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