DIY Compost

When I was still living in Chicago, I was lucky enough to have my pick of other people’s composts to put my plant waste in without having to do any of the work. Since moving back to Michigan, I have become wasteful with my scraps. I felt particularly terrible whenever I made juice. All of that good plant matter, just being hauled off to a landfill.

So, over the weekend, I set to work making my own DIY compost bin. We spent exactly $0 on it, since we already had a plastic storage container sitting around. Even if you had to pick one up, it’s an affordable option compared to the ready-made compost bins you can purchase. You can make a version of this with worms by using two bins on top of one another, but we’re trying the slower, wormless option.

Here’s the skinny.

sharpie, ruler, rubber bin
You will need to drill aeration holes in the top, bottom, and all four sides of your plastic storage container. I used a ruler and marked holes about 1-2 inches apart all over the container. Then I used a larger drill bit to drill the holes. I would suggest wearing goggles and a dust mask so you don’t inhale tiny particles of plastic.

layer of newspaper
Your compost needs to have a balance of brown and green waste. So, before adding food you need to add a few other layers. First, add some shredded newspaper.

layer of leaves
Next, find some dried leaves around your yard or a local park and add those. These are your brown layers.

IMG_3660
For the green, you can add grass clippings from you lawn, or, in our case, wheat grass that needed to be trimmed.

IMG_3661
Now you can add food scraps. You’ll want to have a spray bottle of water on hand to keep you compost moist. You’ll also need a gardening shovel to shuffle things around a bit. Make sure you are always keeping a good balance of newspaper and food waste.

We plan to try serious gardening for the first time this year, and are excited to eventually have fresh compost to add to our garden.

Mary

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