Sunday, April 24, 2011

Composting 101

I can't claim that I'm a horticultural genius, nor do I have a green thumb. In fact, all of the house plants I've ever had (including a bamboo) have died on me. But last year I started a compost bin and was actually successful.

Composting is a great way to reduce the amount of waste you and your family create and to put your veggie scraps to great use in your garden.

(Warning: Scientific Speak Ahead!) Energy from the sun, carbon dioxide from the air, and nutrients from water and soil make plants grow. When they die and decompose through a complex process involving microorganisms such as fungi, bacteria, insects, mites and worms, nutrients go back into the soil, and carbon dioxide back into the air. The humus remaining from this decay process provides soil with organic matter that can hold water and nutrients in the soil, making it easier to till.

On to the bin...

When I made my original bucket, I used an extra bin I had around. Turns out it wasn't the most durable plastic bin, so after a rough Michigan winter she needs to be replaced.

You'll need:

18 Gallon Bucket w/ a lid
Drill & Drill bit
and some veggie scraps to get it started

In order for your scraps to compost, you have to have circulating air. Start by drilling holes in your lid.

It doesn't matter what size holes you drill, but makes sure you drill a lot of them.

Top, bottom and sides too.

And here she is. I might need some more air holes on the sides, but for now this will do.

I added my veggie scraps and about five cups of the original compost to help start the composting process.

Remember, you can put nearly anything into your compost bucket: leaves, weeds, fruit and vegetable peels, egg shells, coffee grounds, tea bags, newspaper and grass clippings all work well. Anything you put into your composter should be chopped fairly small so it will break down quicker in the small space. Fruit and vegetable trimmings can be chopped small with a knife, or run through a blender or food processor to break them down. Chop leaves by running a lawn mower over them a few times. Crush eggshells finely so they will break down faster.

Be cautious not to put any meat products or animal droppings. Both may contain toxins that could contaminate or harm whatever you put your finished compost on.

Each day you should turn your compost. This won't be tough to remember considering you'll probably be dumping scraps in there. I keep a trowel next to mine and every time I dump something in, I give it a turn.

If your compost is beginning to smell or it isn't heating up, check this site Home Composting. It's my go-to site when my bin has issues.

I'll post soon on where I keep my scraps before they make it to the outdoor bin.

<3 dani

Check out the creative stuff where I LINK UP.


  1. Hi there

    I'm also not so great with plants, but I've got a compost bin and that all works really well for me too! My plants have even started to grow bettter now that I've something to help 'feed them' with!!
    Just stopped by to let you know that I featured your dishwasher sign on my round tuit post this week!
    Thanks again for linking up! Hope you have a great week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  2. We started composting last year also. It does greatly reduce the amount of trash we have. Plus it is an awesome way to help the evironment. Thanks for posting on how easy this is ☺

  3. I really want to compost at some point! Thanks for sharing this!!!

  4. I'm so glad you're having good luck with composting, Jesse!

    Do it April! It's so easy (and completely painless)!



Drop me a line, a link or some good old fashioned love.