How to Make your Own Home Compost Bin
The concept and idea of composting is appealing to many however where do you start? Do you have to make this huge time and monetary invest? No in fact it is quite simple and easy to get into.
Probably accepted as the easiest and cheapest compost bin to build yourself is the Pallet Composter, with simple readily available materials and an ease of construction that almost anyone can complete. This project is a great introduction to home composting, and allows for a relatively low initial invest. In itsí simplest form this composter is nothing more than four wooden pallets joined together, using either screws, hinges or even zip ties, to make a four sided box with no top or bottom. Then the compost is turned with a pitch fork or shovel occasionally, every two to three weeks is usually sufficient.
There are a number of variations and additions that can be made to this bin, to make it more complex and add some additional beneficial features. With one additional pallet and a couple of hinges a top can be added to the bin to help keep pests out. Chicken wire or metal mesh can also be used to line the interior of the bin to help hold the contents in; that may otherwise slip through the wide slats of the pallet when turning the compost.
Whether you make your own or use a composter that you have purchased from a store or online the important thing to remember is the compost is only as good as the material you put in it. The compost will break down faster when it chopped down into smaller pieces. However larger pieces will eventually break down over time, making great usable compost, a wonderful amendment to your soil or potted plants.
Follow this 12 step process for creating your own compost system at home:
1. Find a spot with good drainage, away from direct sunlight.
2. Start with a layer of coarse material like twigs, straw or leaves.
3. Add a layer of dry grass clippings and leaves (preferably chopped), mixed with kitchen waste like eggshells, coffee grounds, tea bags, fruit and vegetable scraps.
4. Cover with a one-inch layer of soil and enough water so the soil is as moist as a damp sponge.
5. Add more materials as they become available, taking care not to make any one layer of the same type of material thicker than six inches.
6. Turn the mixture on a regular basis (weekly or bi-weekly) to provide air space and oxygen.
7. You can also poke the mixture to provide air holes.
8. Keep the pile moist but not soggy.
9. Your compost pile will naturally heat up and decrease in volume as the material inside decomposes.
10. Once the pile is established you may want to add food scraps in the centre of the pile, folding the scraps down and to the inside.
11. When the material inside turns dark brown and crumbly, it is ready for use.
12. Remove the material from the bottom of the pile, to use in your garden or in potting of houseplants. If you wish, screen the compost to remove items not totally decomposed and place these items back into the pile for a second try.