Okay, so you started a garden. Now you have decided you are ready to take the next step into Gardner-hood; composting. There are many ways to build a compost pile. You can build one with stakes and rabbit fencing, you can make one with lumber and fencing with cool drop down gates, heck you can just pile it up in your back yard. That's what I was doing until Lori let me know it was looking a little unsightly. After Lori let me know how things are, I priced some bins at the home centers, and found they are very proud of their compost bins. Next, I got online and found some pretty cool ways to build some out of dimensional lumber and cattle fencing. After thinking it through; it seemed like it would be some unnecessary work turning the pile by hand with a pitch fork. I found the easiest to build, least expensive, and easiest to maintain was to build one out of a garbage can. Here's how I did mine: You really don't need hardly anything at all (total cost was ~$30 if you don't have a trash can already lying around):
- (1) Garbage can with a lid. I went with a Rubbermaid Commercial Line, because I figured I'd need something that can take a beating.
- A drill & drill bit. If you don't have a drill & drill bit just use a hammer & nail
- Some bricks or CMU block. These are necessary for upward ventilation, and if you use a metal can it will prevent rusting.
- A bungee cord. I use the flat black ones with "S" hooks, because that's what Truckers use.
- A watering can or hose.
- Drill holes all over the can. The microbes need air to break down the organic material. I didn't punch holes in the top, because I figure you want to trap the heat inside the can.
- Place the bricks on the ground where you want to place your bin. Place the bin on top to judge what spacing is needed.
- Then fill your bin with alternating green materials (nitrogen rich), and brown materials (carbon rich). Examples of green materials include grass clippings, vegetables scraps, tea bags, coffee grinds, weeds. Examples of brown materials include leaves, cardboard, paper, & wood chips.
- If your material looks dry add some water. It should be like a wet sponge.
- Put the lid on and bungee shut. Place the bin on its side, and give it a roll to mix the contents.
- Place back on bricks.
For the best results you will want to roll the bin once a week, and water if it looks dry. Compost should be ready with in 4-8 weeks. Do you compost at your house? -Nate