How to Choose a Composting
There are many sizes, shapes, and
styles of composting bins to choose from. You can make one yourself
or opt for not using one at all and create a compost pile or heap.
A compost tumbler is a cylindrical
shape much like a drum laid on its side. It can be turned on a base
that is supported on the flat ends. By turning the drum you are rotating and aerating the materials at the same time. It is an easy and effective way to rotate
A bio-orb container is shaped like a
round ball and comes in various sizes. The benefits of this type of
container are the ease of getting it around (you can roll it over to your yard waste and roll it back to its base), and the act of rolling it also aerates and rotates
the contents. There are many small round holes in the container to
let air in too.
A wooden box with slats or a wooden
framed box with mesh sides can be purchased or easily made at home.
If you can find four wooden pallets, you can nail them together to create
a compost bin very inexpensively or you can find a roll of wire mesh at your local hardware store. Both of these options allow air to circulate as long as the contents are
not too compacted.
If you do not want to use a bin,
start with a pile of glass clippings or leaves and start to layer your
food scraps on top. As time goes by and your pile continues to grow make sure you rotate and “stir” it frequently. Be warned though, it is not as easy to turn a
pile that is not contained. They tend to grow in circumference over
time as the pile spreads out after rotating.
Your Own Compost Bin
If you would rather
not purchase a bin for your compost pile, you should still devise a way
to contain it. You can easily and inexpensively build your own bin. This will give
you more control over the size of the pile and can prevent unwelcome animals
helping themselves to some free food.
If you are using
recycled lumber and it has been treated (either painted or stained) make sure it has been done using non-toxic material. You do not want anything toxic
or poisonous to come in contact with your compost, especially if you are
going to be using it where you are growing
You will need four
4-foot sections of 2X4 and 20 3-foot sections of 1X6 boards. Begin by hammering the 2X4 lumber pieces into the ground with a sledgehammer at the
corners of what will become a 3 feet squared container (space each
corner post 3 feet apart). Next, put five boards to every side
securing each end of the board to the corner post with nails. Be
sure to leave enough room in between each board for air circulation. You can use a piece of plywood or another flat piece of material large enough to cover the top as
Another way to build
your own bin is to use new or recycled pallets. Find wooden pallets (you may be able to find them at a land fill site) and nail or screw them together to form
a square. If you want you can add a fifth to give the bin a
bottom, but this is not necessary.
Another option is
to enclose the pile with a wire mesh. You can either create a circle with the mesh and secure with metal ties or hammer wooden posts in a circle around the
pile and secure the mesh to the wooden posts.