I can’t tell you how long I’ve been wanting to start a compost bin. It was on my list of goals to complete this year and I’m excited to announce I have finally started one!
We don’t really have much of a dispensable income so I had to be creative and think of something we could make with the supplies we had on hand. Plus, it’s always fun being crafty!
I bribed my father-in-law to let me have one of his, ahem, many trash cans. He was hesitant at first but I assured him I knew what I was doing. I didn’t lie to him, I just stretched the truth a little… Lucky for me, I was able to dictate the instructions well and we created an awesome bin — although it’s a pretty fool-proof design. He kept saying that real farmers just have piles and they don’t use bins of any sort. I told him I’m the new-age, urban farmer with zero experience. Comforting right? I find I’m relying more on instinct to get me through my gardening decisions here lately.
This compost bin is ridiculously easy to make and it takes 10 minutes, tops. If you don’t have extra trash cans laying around, you can get one for pretty inexpensive at the store. You could also search Craigslist for trash cans — people will sell anything.
If you are having problems/doubts determining which things you can or cannot compost here is a fantastic (and my favorite) article to give you a little boost of confidence. It’s truly amazing how much waste we can reduce by simply re-purposing our everyday household waste.
My Experience Composting So Far
We’ve been composting for a little over a week and just recently started to notice a smell. There were more food scraps (nitrogen) than brown material like leaves, soil (carbon) so we added some dried up seaweed from the lake and it made the smell go away almost instantly. The concept is simple: If you begin to smell an odor, chances are you need a little bit more of carbon or nitrogen to the pile. Balance is everything.
I’ve also made a point to shred, chop and process as much of the food scraps that go into the bin. The reason I do this is because I’m impatient and want compost as quick as I can get it. By making the pieces as small as you can get them, it speeds up the decomposition process and gets you compost sooner than if you were just throwing scraps in without thought.
For our “slop” container, we use a recycled coffee container my mother-in-law got from her work and keep it under the kitchen sink. Our family uses this container so we don’t have to go outside every single time we have scraps that need to be thrown in the bin. That would get annoying, very quickly.
If you want something a little cuter than a recycled Folger’s coffee container, THIS would make a great slop bin.
DIY Trash Can Compost Bin
What You Need
- trash can with lid
Turn your trash can upside down and drill holes, spaced about 1-2 inches apart, alongside the bottom
On the sides of the trash can (yes, I am aware that round objects don’t have sides) drill about 15-20 holes. I, well, my FIL drilled four sets along the outside of the can. I think the more aeration the compost can get, the better.
Drill a few holes on the top of the bin as well
Voila! You’ve got your very own compost bin! Just remember to stick a shovel in there at least once a week and move things around.
Do you have your own compost bin? What do you scrap most?