When it comes to composting, there are a few great options. Set up a countertop compost bucket to collect kitchen scraps and empty contents in one of two places:
1. Your city's yard waste facility. If your city has a yard waste facility you likely already know about it however not everyone realizes you can put everything from food scraps to tree branches in this helpful container to be composted in a large scale facility.
2. Make your own backyard compost bin or pile and use the end product to help your garden flourish! Below are directions on how to make one:
1. Place lid on tote and flip the tote upside down.
2. Mark dots with a permanent marker approximately two inches apart on the bottom and sides of the tote, and three to four inches apart on the lid.
2. Drill holes where you marked the dots across the tote.
3. Celebrate! You just made your very own backyard compost bin!
Put you bin outside and slowly fill it with compost! Below are some helpful tips and suggestions on how to best make the perfect compost:
- 1 durable plastic storage tote (approx. 18 gallon)
- hand-held drill
- 5" x 16" drill bit
Choose a good location in your garden or yard to put your compost bin. The best locations are relatively flat, with well drained soil, that you can get to from your house easily.
Learn about Browns and Greens. When making compost there are two main ingredients, commonly referred to as "the browns" and "the greens". Carbon-rich materials such as leaves, paper, cardboard, sawdust, wood chips, and nut shells are the "browns". And nitrogen-rich materials such as fruits, vegetables, grass clippings, coffee grounds, tea (loose leaf), and egg shells are the "greens". The basics of composting rely on the understanding of these two groups.
Collect Brown (carbon-rich) materials and put them in a dry area, a brown paper bag or aluminum trash can for example. Then store them by your compost bin.
Layer Browns and Greens to create the perfect compost. When starting out, make a base layer of hay or straw to allow for sufficient air flow and alternate between layers of green and brown when necessary.
Tip: A good rule of thumb is to add four times as much brown material than green, by volume.
Keep your compost healthy. While you could let your compost decompose by itself, a little help goes a long way. When adding green material dig a hole, mix it up with some of the compost below then add the layer of brown. Also, don't let your compost get too wet. It should be damp but not soggy. Every few weeks you can turn the compost to introduce oxygen and speed up the decomposition process.
Use your finished compost to feed your garden! It can take anywhere from one month to one year for your compost to fully decompose depending on your location, temperature, etc. When it is done, it should be a dark brown or black color and should crumble easily in your hand. It should also have an earthy smell. It should not stink. You can use your new compost for anything from potting soil to an amazing soil amendment for your veggie garden or just a great mulch for fruit trees, shrubs and anything else you might have growing at your house! Enjoy!
Hair and Fur
Hay and Straw
Wood Chips and Shavings
Wooden or Bamboo Toothbrushes
Yard Clippings (e.g. branches, sticks, etc.)
Black Walnut Tree Leaves or Branches
Coal or Charcoal Ash
Colored or Glossy Paper
Diseased or Insect Infested Plants
Fats, Grease, Lard, or Oil
Fish Meat or Bones
Meat or Meat Bones
Plants Treated with Toxic Chemicals or Pesticides