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DIY Compost

Updated: Feb 9, 2022

Yes, it's garbage. But it's good garbage!

2017 makes year 3 of gardening; but it's the first time I'm making my own compost. I wanted something that would nourish my plants without using harsh chemicals. So far, in the 4 years that I have been gardening, I have yet to use any chemicals on my plants. 

Compost contains lots of natural nutrients that plants need to grow, without having to use store bought plat food and not not knowing what all of the ingredients are. I looked into composting thinking it would cost me lots of money. Those huge compost bins are expensive! So, I decided to make my own, using a plastic bin and a small kitchen compost caddy. 

I bought a compost caddy from Amazon for less than $13.00. 

It's odor free which I was happy about. I wasn't sure how to discard kitchen scraps without it stinking up the whole house. I add tea leaves, coffee grounds, eggs shells and fruit and veggie scraps. 

Compost ingredients

(photo courtesy of Global News)

I also added some old potting soil to my compost bin, from planter pots that i was no longer growimg anything in. 

Things like me, fish, human and pet waste should never go into your compost bin. Fruit and veggie scraps, etc., are considered green material. You need a balance of green material and brown material. Brown materials include shredded newspaper, cardboard (tissue & paper towel rolls too), wood chips, leaves and dead plants. 

For good compost, you want more brown (carbon) material then green (nitrogen) material. About 4:1, 4 parts brown, 1 part green. Having too many green materials can make compost smell bad. It also won't break down like it should. Compost should have somewhat of a sweet smell, or just no bad smell at all. Mixing your compost to aerate it helps break it down faster. Most people mix and turn their compost once a week. I actually mix mine about 4 times a week. Adding moisture is a must! Don't soak your compost. Just add enough water to dampen it. 

I keep a box near my shredder where I keep all of my shredded paper, and I dump it in my compost bin when it's full. My compost bin right outside of the back door.

The top photo is from 9/22, I added my kitchen scraps on top of my previous compost mixture, then mixed it i using a hand rake. The bottom photo is from 9/28, just under a week later ad it already looks good. I started my compost at the beginning of September. And I can already see how it's breaking down. 

How to make your own compost bin

Mine is nothing more than a plastic bin that can be purchased at Target. I drilled some small holes into the bottom and on the sides so it can get some air. You can use other things like a large, round garbage can. It may be easier to mix your compost in the garbage can, because you can turn it on its side and roll it around. 

You can build a large crate using wood, but those are usually open and can attract animals. And you definitely don't need those in your yard. A closed container is best in my opinion. 

I don't plan on using my compost until the spring. As usual, I'll be starting my seedlings indoors; well, in a small walk-in green house that I'll purchase when the time comes. So stay tuned for updates!

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