For a homesteader or someone that wants to be more self-sustaining, a compost pile is a must have. One bin can improve the health of your garden, increase your crop yield, and reduce your families waste. You can purchase different styles of compost bins or make them yourself. To get you started, I’ll tell you how to make a quick, simple compost bin and share a few tips for composting success.
- Compost is a natural fertilizer, so no need to harm your plants and soil with chemicals.
- Retains water in your soil, which means less watering.
- Nutrients from compost aren’t washed away by rainfall. No waste!
Reduce Your Waste!
- Residential waste is 40% compostable materials. Keeps waste out of landfills.
- Waste less water since your compost will retain more water.
- Reduce the amount of waste that is broken down in landfills to produce methane gas and toxic leachate that pollutes groundwater.
- Compost neutralize your soil’s PH level. Plants need certain PH levels to grow and thrive. Compost makes sure your soil is perfect for your garden.
- Boosts nutrient content in your soil to increase the yield from your garden. Larger tomatoes, melons, cabbages; whatever you grow, you’ll grow a lot more by adding compost.
- Makes your garden soil nice and fluffy! Improves aeration of the soil and rejuvenates your garden.
DIY Compost Bin
There are several styles of compost bins. Today, I’ll just show you how you can make a small compost bin to get you started. If you decide you want a larger compost bin, you can find tons of ideas on Pinterest.
What You’ll Need:
- Heavy-duty, Plastic Tote (24″ tall or more) with a Tight-Fitting Lid
- Newspaper or Leaves
- Food Scraps/ Paper Products for Composting
- Shovel or Rake (to turn compost)
- Grab the supplies about and set up a spot outside to work. This may get messy!
- Using your drill, make 8-10 small holes in the bottom of the container. This will make sure your compost gets enough air flow.
- Shred up a newspaper or gather dry leaves and place some on the bottom of the bin. You’ll want this layer to fill about 1/8 – 1/4 of the container.
- Dump some dirt on top of your newspaper/dry leaves until your container is about half full. It’s better to have more dirt than you need, so if your container is a little more than half full after the dirt layer, that’s okay.
- Now you can add your compostable materials, like food scraps and paper products. The smaller the materials the better, so instead of throwing in a full banana peel cut it up a bit first. This will speed up the composting process.
- Give your pile a little stir with a shovel or rake. Just making sure your scraps are covered with dirt.
- Next, spray with lukewarm water. You don’t want to soak the pile, just enough to make it moist. (If your compost ever starts to smell, you probably added too much water.)
- Place your bin in a shady area away from your house (or on your patio if you live in an apartment). The compost will dry out if it is in full sun, so be careful where you leave it.
Can I Compost That?
Not all waste is created equal. Some trash should be avoided when it comes to your compost bin. Below is a list of a few common items you should and should not compost. Bookmark this page to reference the list later!:
- Fruits and Veggies
- Egg Shells
- Paper and Cardboard
- Nuts and Seeds
- Coffee Grounds, Tea Leaves, and Tea Bags
- Yard Waste – Leaves, Twigs, etc.
- All-Natural Fabrics – Cotton, Wool, etc.
- Hair and Fur
- Vacuum Dirt, Dust Sweepings, Wood Shavings, and Sawdust
- Any Toxic Chemicals
- Any Kinds of Plastic
- Meat and Dairy
- Human or Animal Waste
- Cooking Oils
- Plastic-Lined Cartons
- Disposable Diapers and Feminine Products
- Magazines and Other Heavily-Coated Paper
- Glitter and Metallic Wrapping Paper
- Non-Natural Fabrics – Fleece
Do You Compost?
Early Spring and Fall are the best time to start a compost pile, so get started! Let us know about your composting experience in the comment section below!
If you want to read more tips for improving your garden this year, check out our Lawn and Garden Category.
Want to read more like this? Let me know what you would like to learn about next!