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How to Compost - Homemade Compost - How to make Compost

Updated on October 8, 2009

How to compost?

I have recently started composting at home. In this article I review several questions/challenges associated with composting in an urban setting.

  • Is it hard to do?
  • How much space will it require?
  • Will it smell?
  • How do you start composting?

I will address each of these questions separately. My hope is that I can help answer some of these questions for you and get you started on the road to composting.

Is it hard to do?

Composting is not difficult to do. All you need are some basic ingredients. You probably already have most of the ingredients and supplies required. If you cut your own grass, trim your own bushes, rake your own leaves, take the newspaper, receive junk mail, and ever have any leftover vegetables, or organic products from your food table, then you have what you need from an ingredients perspective. You can read more about making compost in my article on that topic “How to make Compost”.

How much space will it require?

While composting can take a large area it doesn’t have to. There are different approaches based upon the amount of space you have available. From a large multi-bin, open air approach, to a much smaller single enclosed bin there are solutions available to suit your available space and the volume of refuse you have available to use. The key here is that you don’t have to dedicate a large area to get started. If you have room for a trash can for example in a corner of your yard, you have sufficient room to begin. Learn more about different composting solutions from my article on that topic “Compost Bin Review”.

Will it smell?

If you are using the correct portions of ingredients, layering them appropriately and keeping your compost appropriately moist, your compost will not smell badly. In fact,… a noticeable odor coming from your compost is likely a sign of having too much green materials in your compost batch and or not enough oxygen. Odors can be prevented and/or corrected by adding additional brown materials to the batch and by mixing or turning the batch.

Home made trash can composting bin
Home made trash can composting bin
Bottom of home made trash can composting bin
Bottom of home made trash can composting bin

How do you start composting?

As I mentioned above, if you already perform much of your own yard maintenance, you have the required green materials and perhaps brown materials as well. You need to determine whether you are going to have an open air or an enclosed approach. If you live in the city as I do, you may want to start out small with an enclosed system.

Your initial composting at home solution can be as simple as an old garbage can with a lid.

I’ve inserted a picture here as an example that I made. You can get as fancy or simplistic as you desire. I’ve seen solutions where screen was installed to cover the holes for example. I’ve seen holes cut as small as a nail hole and as large as 2 inches. I cut mine with a 7/8 inch drill bit. I wanted them to be small enough so that compost wouldn’t fall out as I turn the barrel. That’s a key feature of this solution. You can simply put the lid on and roll it around on the ground a few times to mix and turn your compost batch.

I’ve provided reference to a number of commercially available enclosed compost bins below for those of you who might prefer to simply purchase a pre-made composting solution. For a more in-depth review of each of these, please refer to my compost bin review.

Happy Composting!

Comments - Please tell me if you found this article helpful.

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    • dprice99 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Phoenix Arizona

      Thanks for the comment agusfanani. I'd be curious to learn more about your approach to composting on a smaller basis.

    • agusfanani profile image


      8 years ago from Indonesia

      I make my own compost just at a limited space on the second floor of my house.

    • dprice99 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Phoenix Arizona

      Glad to help sarovai!

    • sarovai profile image


      9 years ago

      Thank u for answering my question. This is really useful for everyone.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thanks for your comment Aqua. Actually the time to think composting is now. The process involved in composting is decomposition of the various items you put into your bin or pile. If you're thinking of using the compost next spring, I would encourage you to start now. That way,... come next spring,... you're compost will be usable for your garden area when you want to use it.

    • Aqua profile image


      9 years ago from California

      Very interesting. I've always wanted to start composting and my soil sure needs the amendments. Sounds like this is something to think about for next spring. Thanks for the info!


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