Composting 101: How to Create Your Own Compost Bin

Composting is a great way to get rid of your organic waste and use this to benefit the environment. Compost encourages healthy plant growth and it’s perfectly natural, without any added chemicals. A compost bin is a container in which to store organic materials that’s designed to accelerate decomposition. They provide proper aeration and moisture retention, as part of the right conditions for transforming organic waste into compost. Creating your own compost bin has many environmental benefits. It allows you to enrich the soil without the need for harmful chemicals and provide a continuous supply of nutrients.

  1. Choosing a bin
  2. Laying sticks or straw
  3. Compost layers
  4. Keep moist and cover
  5. Turn
  6. Compost uses

1. Choosing a bin

Image of a large compost bin in a garden with buckets of yard waste surrounding it.

You have a couple of options when it comes to choosing a compost bin. You could check out your local garden center or buy one online. Alternatively, you can create your own using a garbage can or by repurposing wooden crates, for example. The important thing is to remember to drill holes in the bottom to maximize aeration.

2. Laying sticks or straw

Another way to help aerate your compost is by adding a layer of sticks or straw. This will also help with drainage. You can use this as an opportunity to get rid of some garden waste.

3. Compost Layers

Graphic showing what things you can and cannot compost.

Not all organic material is compostable so it’s important to know what you can and can’t put in your compost bin. Compostable materials include vegetable and fruit peelings, nut shells, egg shells, coffee and tea, and some paper scraps and cardboard. You shouldn’t compost other animal or dairy products, diseased plants, or pet waste. It’s important to alternate between moist and dry materials. Tea bags are an example of moist materials, and leaves or saw dust are dry.

4. Keep moist and cover

Keep your compost moist by adding water occasionally and covering it with a layer of plastic or wood. This will retain heat and moisture and prevent it from being over-watered.

5. Turn

Use a pitchfork or shovel to regularly turn your compost. This will help to keep it aerated. Oxygen is essential to composting so this is important. Many store-bought compost bins can also be turned using a handle.

Compost Uses

Image of food scabs being dumped into a compost bin.

Once you’ve created your own compost bin you can then reap the benefits. There are several uses of compost in your home garden. It improves the condition of your soil and all plants will love it, from flowers to herbs and vegetables. Dig a 10cm layer of compost into your flower beds in the soil before planting. If you’ve already planted flowers or vegetables you can simply sprinkle some compost around the bases of plants. You should apply compost with each rotation and don’t forget to replenish your pots as well. When you’re repotting plants, about a third of the pot should be compost. You can even sieve your compost and add a light layer to your lawn. Pretty much everything in your garden will grow better with compost, so it’s time to collect your organic waste and feed your plants.

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