Do It Yourself - Composting Made Easy
I have been a gardener for many years now, but I was not a composter. I just couldn't wrap my head around how it worked. Finally about a year and a half ago we started our first compost pile and really it couldn't be easier. I wish I hadn't waited so long! Now instead of throwing out many of our food scraps we are turning them into awesome soil for our garden and flowers.
We started our first compost pile by making big boxes out of pallets. This worked pretty well, but it took up a lot of room and was messy. We also had trouble keeping it covered and turning it. It was nice to throw leaves, grass clippings and yard waste into, but we really didn't need something so large and it wasn't breaking down very fast.
Then I came across a site that had a detailed article about making your own compost pile out of a garbage can. We made two of these by copying the article. We used only items that we had on hand and it took about 30 minutes to get 2 compost piles set up. The items needed are a round garbage can, a drill with a 1/2 inch bit and some bricks.
The first thing to do is to go up, down and all around (don't forget the bottom) the garbage can drilling holes every few inches. Avoid the seams so as not to weaken the garbage can. Place the bricks on a level surface and set the garbage can on top of the bricks. This will provide adequate air circulation, which is one of the keys to good composting.
Now you are ready to add your materials. We filled one garbage can with material from our old compost pile and started the other garbage can with some newspaper scraps. We have since added lots of food scraps as well as some leaves and grass clippings. Everything seems to be breaking down nicely, much faster than the pallet system.
One of the reasons the garbage can composting system works so well is that you can put a tight fitting lid on it. This will trap the heat in, which is essential for making your scraps break down into compost. It is also very easy to turn this way. Just lay the garbage can on its side and roll it around on the ground a few times. Flip it back upright and sprinkle some water on it and it is ready to compost some more. You can turn it every day if you want, but we have chosen to do it about twice a week and this is working great.
Using a garbage can for our compost pile has been a very nice change from the pallet system. It is neat and contained. It is very easy to do and I think that we will easily be able to continue adding things and turning it even over the winter, which we couldn't do with the pallet system. It just ended up being a large frozen pile before. Now I think it will roll around easily even in the winter. If you are looking for an easy way to compost, this system should work very well for you.