Composting is a great way to keep nutrient-rich organic matter from going to waste. It is excellent for people who have gardens and those who grow crops inboxes. It is a way of increasing the recycling process by creating conditions that are ideal for rapid decomposition.
If DIY compost bin ideas for your homestead are great to have, then why is it not practiced by more people? Many people assume that these compost piles stink. However, the truth is, they usually do not stink at all, and the cost is lower than you would think.
The worms and bugs that develop there do all the work for you. It is also great because it does not consume much space and is great for city dwellers too. Stick around. This article will teach you all you need to know about composting and give you 19 of the best composting ideas for your homestead.
Why You Should Compost
Before you start gathering materials for that compost bin, you need to ask yourself why composting homestead materials are essential. Here are some benefits of composting.
Save Your Soil:
Adding compost to your garden and flower beds does not just help to make your soil healthier, it allows you to add nutrients to the substrate. You can improve your soil structure and make it environmentally friendly. It is a great way to make sure that your soil will always support the growth of any crops you plant in it.
Saves on Water:
It allows your garden to retain water and makes it more efficient. If you plant crops in your garden routinely, the roots tend to go deeper and deeper. With water retention, you can ensure that your plants are healthier as they keep the water from draining. You will therefore not have to use as much water when watering your crops.
Saves You Money:
It is an excellent way of turning your trash into treasure. When you throw leftovers away, you are also throwing away money. You buy trash bags and have to keep paying garbage companies to pick up the trash. Composting allows you to reduce the amount of waste you throw out. You get to save money in the process. Also, you reduce the pressure that gets inflicted in landfills each day.
If you have a huge garden, consider getting your neighbors to give you their leftovers for composting.
You grow healthy chemical-free plants:
Today, many people are worried about having too many chemicals in their crops. To keep the soil fertile; farmers are increasingly forced to use more chemical fertilizers. You can avoid all that by composting. Users can also reduce the costs associated with buying these chemicals. You get to grow crops that are risk-free and not susceptible to pests.
Should You Build or Buy Your Compost Bin?
There are numerous compost bins on the market. However, most use simple materials that are easy to assemble. If you are trying to save as much money as possible, building one yourself is probably your best option. Most commercially available bins are costly. DIY bins only need scrap lumber or pallets which cost next to nothing.
Building one is a gateway project for most DIYers. Most of the bins in this article are easy to build and do not require you to contact any professional help. Once you get the composting confidence, you can create some of the more complex bins.
The Top 19 DIY Compost Bins
Are you on a budget? Are you trying to save time? If yes, here are a couple of DIY bins that will help you save both.
1. Pallets Bin:
This bin is perhaps the most reasonable option for any DIYer because you are reusing pallets. If you have no idea where to get pallets, any depot in your area typically has plenty that they are happy to give away.
Using pallets is practically free and simple to put together. The best part is that building it will take you less than an hour. It will also provide you with a well-ventilated bin because of the structure of the pallets.
2. Using Your Garbage Can:
This method is fun and allows you to roll and mix the garbage perfectly. All you need is a garbage can with a lid, a drill, some bungee cords, and of course, someone to do this with you.
Make holes around the trash can and the lid and get the cords to go through the holes. These cords will work to make sure that the cover is secure.
3. Use Milk Crates:
All you will need for this one are paper bags, milk crates, and weed blockers. You will also need a hot glue gun to bring all these things together. The paper bags will create the right conditions to make sure that the compost is ready on time.
4. Circular Wire Mesh Compost Bin:
Instead of throwing away those leftover wire mesh, create a container. Start by making a circular build like the chicken coop. You also need three to four-foot posts. If you have metal posts from a fencing project, use those.
This design is not only practical but also easy to construct. If you do not have these materials, consider getting them from craigslist.
5. Use Logs:
Most homesteads have wooded areas. You can use some of those logs to make a simple bin. Make sure the logs are four to six inches in diameter. You can cut these logs into four-foot sections to make them easier to move around. Make the bin square until the structure is enclosed. Ensure there is adequate spacing between the woods to allow for air circulation.
6. Corrugated Tins:
You also have the freedom to choose the corrugated tin. These often serve as roofs and walls for outbuildings like chicken coops and sheds. You merely have to cut the 3-foot by four-foot sections.
Use the spare boards as corners and make a three-sided compost bin. The open side will ensure that your compost materials have adequate aeration.
7. 3-Bin Composter:
If you are not a beginner, you want something more challenging to make that will last longer without maintenance. If this is the case for you, consider going with multi-bin composting systems. Typically this system involves using: the first bin to add that waste, the second to hold the materials for further decomposition and the third is where you add the content ready to go to the garden.
As the name suggests, the system involves three or four cubic feet bins. It allows you to have decomposing materials for your garden continuously.
8. Brick Bins:
You have done your patios and retaining walls, and you may have the perfect materials left over. You can use them to make a great outdoor DIY compost bin. You can also use cinderblocks for this project. Just find a beautiful area and structure the three-sided structure.
The best part is that you do not need to use mortar because you want to have the freedom to move the bricks to increase the decomposition.
In all countries, worn-out tires are menaces. If you are looking for ways to make the environment better, consider using an old tire for salvaging homemade fertilizer. These are great because they are readily available and thus easy to assemble. All you must do is stack three or four tires.
Make sure the areas you choose for decomposing are flat and sunny. You may use a piece of plywood as a cover. The best thing about this system is that the black tires absorb heat and hasten the process.
If you are worried about turning the compost, it is relatively straightforward. All you have to do is re-stack the tires a yard from where they were initially. Then, shovel the materials back into your new stack.
10. A Worm Bin:
All the other containers discussed in this article thus far have been about creating heat to support microbial decomposition. This bin entirely relies on the activities of worms to get the job done. With this one, you need to employ worms in your waste materials.
Redworms are loved because they eat roughly their weight each day. If you get a pound of redworms into the can, you are confident that you will have at least a pound of organic materials produced daily. The organic material produced is known as castings.
For this one, all you have to do is use a 30-gallon plastic bin such as this one and four small terra cotta pots such as these on Amazon. Drill two dozen 1/8 inch holes on the sides, the lid, and it’s bottom. Place the terra cotta pots in the bottom of the bin and place the first bin inside the one with terra cotta.
The first 3 inches should get filled with damp peat moss. Place the lid and keep it in a cool dark place, preferably in your basement.
Once this gets done, get your worms into the bin and let them work. Make sure you add some kitchen leftovers every day. You can use a garden rake to move things around.
The bottom bin will get filled with a liquid that you can use in your garden as fertilizer.
11. Straw Bale
If you have livestock on your farm, then straw bales are something you can easily access. While these are an excellent source of fodder for your animals, they are also great impromptu composting bins. Arrange several bales inside the three-sided container and stack about 12 bales. Once this gets done, stack the waste materials.
With time, the bales will deteriorate. You will have the choice to break them apart or add more waste materials. However, if you choose the former, ensure that you add straws.
12. The Trash Bag System:
This method is known as aerobic composting and is perfect for people who have time on their hands. It also relies on the availability of microbes that thrive in oxygen-deprived environments.
Use standard plastic garbage bags such as these and fill one with an equal amount of green and brown materials. Seal the bag as tightly as possible and store it in a cool, dry place. Unlike most of the others, this one is a slow process that will take several months.
13. Compost Tumbler:
Begin by creating a wooden frame that can hold a drum. Use a hole cutter to make holes on the drum’s top and base. Thread a PVC pipe horizontally through the shaft of the drum. The PVC ends should be attached to the wooden frame.
You can make ventilation holes in different areas of the drum, as you deem fit. For quick compost harvesting, make sure that you have a tray at the bottom of the wooden frame.
14. Cardboard Box:
If you are working with an insanely tight budget and don’t have any raw materials left from your other building projects, get some cardboard. This method may not be the toughest. However, it is the cheapest and the easiest.
Be sure to cover the box to prevent excess rainfall from getting into your compost. For a firm hold, you can use a couple of bricks. Remember that it is a short-term solution and is best for the dry seasons of the year.
15. Decorative Compost Bin:
Functionality is not all you need from your compost bin. Sometimes, you want one that will look great in your yard while creating a luscious mixture of fertilizer. By combining several materials and employing a bit of creativity, you can achieve both functionality and beauty.
For instance, you can make a wire mesh compost bin as discussed in this article. However, you can shape the mesh-like a teapot or a cup. You may also form the compost as a teapot and your flower pots can be cup-shaped. This design will make your garden stand out and look pleasing to all your guests.
16. Old wheelbarrow
You can use your old wheelbarrow to make a great compost bin. You may also use the drum design and let the organic matter fall into your wheelbarrow. If the wheels are functional, this is a great way to transport the material to your garden.
It is also a tool that will prove helpful in mixing the compost.
17. Open Compost Pile:
When you do not feel like building anything, you don’t have to throw away your kitchen waste. You can make your compost pile anywhere in your yard. You can choose whether to dig a hole and use it for composting or use the open ground.
The best thing about this composting is that the areas used will be extremely fertile. It will produce you great crops. You can, therefore, choose a different area each time.
How to Have a Compost Bin in the City
Did you know over 200 million pounds of trash land in garbage cans every day in the US? Up to 15-percent of that waste comes from kitchen and yard fills. These are matters that, if used in compost bins, should not fill up the landfills.
If you are in the city, you probably do not have much space. You also do not want to stink up your neighborhood. Here are a few tips that will help make composting the city fun and possible.
Find a Bin That Fits
First, you need to make sure that you find a compost pile that is compact and tidy. You should enclose the material in a container that is moist and warm. Choose one that is the right size for your storage space. It should also be something you can move to the balcony corner when you have guests.
You also must make sure that you choose one that goes well with your décor. You can also make yours and paint it to add that personal touch.
Go for Green and Brown
Two gasses are most critical when it comes to composting. These are nitrogen and carbon. Nitrogen comes from green plants like flowers, grass clippings, and vegetable scraps. Carbon, on the other hand, is in dry garden materials like hay, brown plant materials, and bread. You can keep a bag at your door where you can collect all these materials and make a trip to the compost bin once each day.
You may notice that the green stuff is producing an odor that is not welcome in your home. To avoid that, cover the green materials thoroughly using the carbon-rich brows. Not only will this eliminate odors, but it will also prevent pest and insect infestations.
Keep it Damp
While dry material will eventually rot, you want your compost materials to decompose as fast as possible. To do this, turn the material often as you spray in some water. If it is difficult to turn, make deep holes and pour water into the holes.
However, be careful not to use too much water. If it is rainy, you can leave the compost out so rainwater can get it and you save on that water bill.
How to Compost Indoors for City Dwellers:
Who says you need a large homestead to have great organic fertilizer for your plants? The truth is that you do not even require a yard to do it. Here are a few tips city dwellers can use to compost indoors and avoid unwanted pests and odor.
18. Closet Composting:
Do you have a tiny closet or some space under the sink? Use it. All you need is a 5-gallon bucket such as this one with a lid and fill it with equal amounts of brown and green materials. Ensure that the mixture is always damp and stir it occasionally. Let the cap be on top of the bucket. However, it should not be airtight.
Add small amounts of waste at a time to keep the odor away.
19. Kitchen Composting:
This system is one that utilizes two sets. All you require are two garbage cans: one small and one slightly larger. You will also need a supply of organic garden soil.
Add the garden soil to the smaller trash can. Keep throwing the waste materials in till you can no longer see the dirt. Place another layer of soil on top of the waste materials and repeat the process.
Once the can is full, empty the content into the larger box and continue until that one is full. Make sure you occasionally stir to hasten the process. Pour it into your garden.
How long does it take?
The answer to this question dramatically varies depending on the composting ingredients, the process, and the management of the system. Sometimes, it depends on when you need to use the materials because most of it can be mulch immediately. However, if correctly employed, the process will take a month or two.
How can you tell when the process is complete?
When complete, the compost will not produce any heat, and the original ingredients are no longer recognizable.
Can you use newspapers?
Yes, newspapers do compost, but after a long time because of high lignin content. The inks are not toxic. However, glossy magazines contain metals that can harm plants.
How do you get rid of rodents and flies?
Make sure that you do not throw dairy products and meat into the pile. You should also not leave cooked foods lying around. Stick to composting vegetables. For flies, use a fly trap and cover the greens with the browns adequately.
Every homesteader must have a compost pile somewhere in their yard. With these tips, city dwellers are not left behind either. Any DIY enthusiast will love these projects because they are easy and fun. It is a process that saves both time and money. You also get to conserve water, improve your soil and get better yields from your crops. So, why wait?
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