Several of you have received our Tweets telling you to take the lid off your compost bin when it was raining! Why is that so important? First, the rainwater is free hydration for your bin. Compost bins are frequently dry in our Southern California climate. Also, rainwater is basically pure…there are no chemicals or salts, and no antibacterial properties to negatively impact your compost. Our tap water in San Diego is alkaline and our municipal water supply is treated with chemicals such as chlorine and fluoride in an attempt to control bacterial growth. Homeowners who have water softener systems are adding additional salts to their outdoor water supply. Rainwater is free of all these chemicals. This benefits all the microbial life in the compost bin!
However, keep in mind…too much of a good thing is not a good thing. You want to only wet your bin until it feels like a ”wrung out sponge.” For extra measure, give it a good stir before you put the lid back on. If you have a vermicompost bin, it is easy to flood them if it is not monitored closely.
The benefit of rainwater to our compost bin is also advantageous for our gardens and landscape. By harvesting rainwater with a rain barrel you are conserving a natural resource, preventing pollution, and irrigating with FREE water! Be prepared for our next rainy day by purchasing and installing a rain barrel at your home. For more information on rain barrels and San Diego’s Rain Barrel rebate program click here.