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How To Make Your Own Compost
  Veteran gardeners swear by compost. It's unrivaled for adding readily available nutrients and beneficial bacteria to vegetable garden soil, or adding to the mix when planting shrubs, trees, perennials, annuals, and container plantings, promoting healthy and vigorous growth of plants. Plus, compost is an envioronmentally smart way to turn houslehold food waste and vegetative landscape and garden waste into something besides a bulge in your garbage bag.

If your the lazy and patient type creating compost is nothing more than piling up leaves, clippings, kitchen scraps and other materials into a heap, and waiting for it to ferment. But, if you have an aesthetic sense (or a spouse with a shred of dignity), building or buying a compost bin is in order. A list of links to websites that offer compost tumblers can be found at the bottom of this page. These tumblers provide you with rich compost within 14 days!

Here's a list of what you might need if you decide to build a wooden or wire-mesh compost bin:

- 4 pallets for sidewalls (usually can be found at hardware or building supply stores, grocery stores, or garden centers) - or - you can buy 1"x6" lumber at your local building supply center (make sure to buy cedar or cypress as it hold up longer) - or, for wire sides, about 16-20' of 3' height wire hardware cloth

- 4 corner posts (treated landscape timbers work good and are cheap) - Fenceposts work good too

- Nails or wire to attach the sidewalls to the posts

- Metal hinges or latches for the removable wall (One wall needs to be removable for access to 'turn' the compost from time to time.

- If you are extremely aestheticaly conscious, and money isn;t too much an issue, than build your bin with motar blocks, and brick or stucco the sides!


STEP 1 - Choose a level site that is preferably shady, has good drainage, and is easy accessible.

STEP 2 - Install the 4 corner posts, which should be about 4 feet in length, at 3-4 foot apart in a square. Dig holes with post hole diggers to a depth of 12" so that 3' of the post will be above ground. Place post in hole and backfill with soil tamping as you go. (you may backfill with Sakrete if you like however it is not necessary).

STEP 3 - Attach pallets, boards, or hardware cloth to three sides with nails or wire. Attach 4th sidewall with hinges or latches so that it will be removable. If using 1x6" boards leave small gaps between so that the pile can breath. This helps speed up the composting process. Don;t worry about adding a top, rain helps speed up the composting process.

STEP 4 - Add about a foot or so of leaves, lawn clippings, shredded paper, cow or horse manure and other composting material you can find to begin the composting process.

STEP 5 - After about 3 weeks turn the mixture good with a shovel or pitchfork. Throwing in some fertilizer doesn't hurt. Do so again about every 2 weeks or so. If the mixture seems to dry hose it down. When the matter is uniform brown, crunbles, and is odorless it is ready for use in the landscape or garden.


Compost is an excellent source of organic material for your garden. It has the added benefit of reducing the amount of waste your household generates. All organic kitchen and garden waste except animal products can be composted. Material such as bones and animal scraps should be avoided because they attract vermin, flies, and scavenging animals.

Begin the compost by adding 12 inches of organic matter (kitchen scraps, yard waste, etc.). Then apply 1 to 2 pounds of high-nitrogen organic fertilizer such as dried blood, guano, or poultry manure. Finally, add 2 inches of soil. Continue building the compost pile in this layered fashion as you generate organic matter. The center of the pile should be concave to hold rain water. The center of the pile should begin to heat up within a couple of weeks. The composting process should be complete within two to three months, depending on material and outside temperature.

Large material such as tree limbs, corn stalks, etc., should be chopped into smaller pieces to facilitate decomposition. Some materials, such as lawn clippings, will decompose very rapidly; others will require turning the compost pile (which aerates the pile) and adding more high-nitrogen organic fertilizer. This will restart the heating and decomposition process.

If all this seems to much work and you'd rather spend your time in the garden doing other things, just buy a Spinning Composter tumbler!


Spinning Composter Compact enough to store on a balcony or patio our Spinning Composter is the ideal choice for urban settings. Manufactured of 50% post-consumer recycled plastic, it produces up to 85 pounds of rich, fertile compost in as little as 30 days without odors. Removable base collects water dripping from the compost pile to provide a nutritious byproduct for gardens and plants. Eight built-in rollers spin with minimal effort to mix in oxygen and speed decomposition. More about the Spinning Composter icon






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