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How To Make Compost At Home (A Practical Guide To Building Your Own Compost Bin)

Updated on July 25, 2013
Create compost at home
Create compost at home | Source

Importance of Compost...

If you are growing your own plot of vegetables or fruits you may find the need for constant manuring to get a better harvest each time. Let's be honest, plants need fertilizer to produce a good harvest every time, because the fertilizer in the natural soil gets depleted every time the plants are grown. If you don't use fertilizer in each harvesting season, the harvest may eventually deplete and you wouldn't get a return for your effort. But adding fertilizer constantly maybe draining your budget. Some fertilizer are so expensive that using them on a home garden is totally commercially nonviable. So what is the alternative? Compost fertilizer!

  • Compost is easy to make, even at home
  • Compost is very cheap
  • Compost gives the basic nutrients a plant needs
  • Compost can be a solution to your household garbage problem
  • Compost is organic
  • Compost is environmentally friendly
  • Compost in non-toxic
  • Compost attracts red worms who enrich the soil through their waste

So looking at the above list we can see that spending a little energy on creating your own compost bin makes good financial sense. Also compost fertilizer is non-toxic so ideal for your home garden.


Composting is very easy. There are no hard and fast rules as to what must be done and what not. However, there are some items that you should not compost due to hygienic reasons and those will be discussed at the end of the article.

Let's get to the first step in creating your own compost at home...

Different types of compost bins
Different types of compost bins

Step 01: Creating the Compost Bin

This is quite an important step to get the composting bin correctly done.

Look at the above picture and get an idea as to what are your options in creating you compost bin. No need to buy compost bins as you can easily build one with day-to-day tools.

An easiest compost bin can be created with a wooden box or crate that is used for transporting vegetables and fruits by farmers. You may be able to find one at a grocery store or a street seller or a farmer. These wooden boxes are ideal for the purpose but if you think long term, the wooden box itself may decay in about 1-2 years. But if you think about the short term, a wooden crate is perfect for the job.

Wooden compost bin
Wooden compost bin
Notice the small door at the bottom of the bin
Notice the small door at the bottom of the bin

The picture on the right shows the three bin composting system. Ideally your wooden compost bin should look like that (not necessarily three bins).

Key points to consider when creating the compost bin

  1. The compost bin should be of a manageable size
  2. There should be gaps or holes in the bin for good ventilation-this is critical for rapid decomposing process
  3. There should be a door at the bottom of the bin to extract the compost (not necessarily an open side as shown in the picture)

If you don't have time to build a compost bin...

If your time and energy is both limited and you want to get started on composting fast, you can buy a plastic compost bin. Amazon has some great compost bins in a variety of designs, sizes and prices. Check the following list to get an idea.

Things that can be composed and cannot be composed
Things that can be composed and cannot be composed

Step 02: Filling the Compost Bin...

Again this is quite an important step as you need to be aware of what and what not to be put in the bin to create compost. All natural items such as leaves and grass, paper, cardboard, fruit and vegetable peels, paper bags, hay, etc can be put in the bin for decomposing.

However these should be NOT be put in your compost bin due to hygienic and health reasons. Also they take a longer time to be decomposed and may slow down the overall decomposing process.

  • meat and meat scraps
  • any or every plastic items
  • ceramic, clay, and glass items
  • fiber, clothes, synthetics, and metals
  • dead creatures
  • human or animal feces
  • Food items: bread, pasta, and cooked food and oils

Step 03: Managing the Compost Bin...

Other stuff to put...

These are added to the compost bins to help the decomposing process and speed up the results.

Air: Sufficient amount of ventilation is required for the items to decompose fast. You cannot add air. But the idea is to let the composting items have enough air inside of the bin. So don't pack your bin with inputs to the brim. And if you can turn and mix the inputs in the bin once in a while it will really help the air flow reach the insides of the bin. The bin that can be rotated (shown in Amazon link) will really help you with this. Even if you have some other bin you can manually turn up the things with a stick or something.

Water: Liquids are essential for the decomposing process. So make sure to add some water into the bin daily or every other day. Water itself will carry oxygen inside the bin and speed up the composting process. Also water will help the growth/birth of worms that will help the decomposition immensely. (So if you see an innocent red worm in the bin, don't remove it. They are so much help). Rather than filling up the entire bin and then adding water, you can add a little bit of water with layers of things you put in the bin.

Sun: Sun is heat. Heat is energy. Heat is essential for the items in the bin to decompose. So make sure your bin is placed as such it gets even a few hours of sunlight.

Compost Accelerator 34 Oz
Compost Accelerator 34 Oz

Compost Accelerators adds environment friendly acids and minerals that speed up the composting process. If you want quicker results this is the chemical that you can use. Also helps the growth of red worms.


Slow Composting and Fast Composting...

There are two ways you can compost based on the timely requirement of the compost fertilizer. Or rather based on separating the slow decomposing and fast decomposing things.

Slow Composting, as the name suggests, takes time. It is generally due to the things we put in the bin naturally take a longer time period to decompose and turn into compost. Things such as tree trunks, meat, dead animals, feces etc takes a longer time than your average household garbage. So those items can be put in a different bin and let it decompose over a longer time period. However there are chemicals that can be added to such bins to accelerate the process. Even these accelerators can be used for your normal compost bin, although it is not really necessary.

Red worms for composting
Red worms for composting

Importance of Red Worms for Composting...

Red worms for composting is as essential as any of the things I have mentioned thus far. So please don't remove any red worms if you see them in your compost bin.

Red worms eat the garbage in the compost bin and excrete a very rich humus. This humus is extremely rich in minerals and nutrients. Also worms eating out the garbage accelerates the process to get compost. Normally red worms do grow in garbage. They are also abundantly found in muddy areas. So pick few of them and put them in your bin. If you can't find any you can also buy live red worms from Amazon. (:O)

Listen to this awesome song on how red worms help composting :D

Ideally this is how collecting compost should look like
Ideally this is how collecting compost should look like

Step 04: Collecting the Compost...

After sometime you can check for the level of decomposition of the bottom-most level of your bin. If the things you put in have broken down into to tiny (almost soil-like) particles, that means your compost is ready. Use the bottom door or opening to extract the compost so that the level above it will replace the extracted compost and provide space on top to add further things to compost.

After you extract the compost you can either spread it over the soil on your vegetable or fruit garden or loosen the soil around each plant and insert the compost into the soil. The latter method is more effective since it helps to absorb the compost directly into the soil without being washed away when you water the plants.

This is how your compost should look if you have done it perfectly
This is how your compost should look if you have done it perfectly

Help others decide...

What kind of compost bin do you use?

See results

Hope you enjoyed and got some knowledge from my hub. If you have further ideas or questions please leave a comment.


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    • Nimesh De Silva profile image

      Nimesh De Silva 4 years ago

      Thanks. Then I believe I have met my goal for this hub. :)

    • Ceres Schwarz profile image

      Ceres Schwarz 4 years ago

      Good guide on how to make compost at home. This is very useful for those that want to make compost at their own houses.


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