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How to make a compost bin in under 15 minutes.

My garden was the pits this year. You won’t realize how much food scraps you actually have until you do this! Grab these EASY instructions on how to make a compost bin.

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White pail with lid on black iron outside patio table.

Our house was bombarded with so many flies a few years ago. We thought it may be our homemade compost bin, so we dumped it in our garden and hoped the flies would go away. Well, they didn’t go away until we had our deck taken out and our patio put in.

This weekend I decided to redo my compost bin.  Our garden was the pits this year so hopefully I’ll be able to add in next spring and my garden will have better results. The time that we composted, it was great. We had tons of worms and rich soil.

How to make a compost bin

It’s really easy to start your own bin and VERY inexpensive. I started out with a Rubbermaid container with a lid. This is the exact one I used.  My husband drilled about 15 holes in the bottom for drainage. I gave away some old baby clothes to a neighbor so I happened to have an empty one on hand! 🙂

Plastic Rubbermaid bin that's upside down in grass with a man's hand drilling holes in the bottom.

Next, I layered leaves, grass clippings, weeds, newspaper, cardboard, leaves and dryer lint until the bin was about half full. I watered it down so it was moist.

Closeup of inside of Rubbermaid bin that has dried leaves and torn up pieces of newspaper inside.
A girl and a boy in a wooded area picking up dried leaves and sticks.

Keeping up with it is pretty easy. You can continue to add the leaves, weeds, newspapers but now it’s great for fruit and vegetable food scraps.  The materials that you start out with will start breaking down fast.  You’ll need to keep adding items to keep it going.  

I found a stick in the woods that I have been using to stir it around every few days.  I’ve continued to add water to keep it moist. (Update:  It has been very rainy lately, so I’ve actually had to add some dry leaves and newspapers to it.)

I’m keeping my bin in my garden. It’s near the water hose.  I also like that worms can come and go from my garden to the bin.

Items NOT to put in your bin:

  • meat
  • bread
  • dairy
  • pasta
  • crackers

Remember- If it comes from the earth, it can go in your bin.  The first day I added banana peels, apple cores, crushed egg shells, cauliflower stems from dinner and some dead flowers I picked from my pots.

I got a similar countertop compost bin for Christmas and I LOVE it!  I can fill it up with my scraps.  It has a filter on the top to keep the smell away!  It’s cute and keeps the fruit flies away in the warmer months.  Once it’s full I go dump it in the bin outside!

Let me know how yours goes and ask me any questions you may have in getting yours started.

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Mandi

Wednesday 8th of April 2020

So do the flies swarm your compost bin, the rubbermaid one?

Holly

Thursday 9th of April 2020

Yes, we do get some flies. When I open it, there are mostly fruit fly type bugs.

Jeanne Falkenstein

Thursday 18th of April 2019

this sounds like such an easy and inexpensive idea. Have you found a way to capture the liquid that drains out? sounds like it would be great compost "tea". It also sounds like having two would be super -- -- one that is working and one you are adding to.

Holly

Friday 19th of April 2019

I keep the compost bin in my garden so all the liquid can drain out there. I just move it around to different locations every month or so.

Norma Jolivette

Wednesday 12th of April 2017

Do you cover it with the lid or do you leave it open??

Holly

Wednesday 12th of April 2017

Keep the lid on!

Mandy

Wednesday 25th of January 2017

How long does it take before it's completely full?

Holly

Wednesday 25th of January 2017

It depends on how much you put in it. I started mine on the date I posted this. It's still not even half way full because all the leaves and food keep breaking down. I am actually starting a second one so the items in the 1st one will be decomposed fully and I can add to my garden in a couple of months.

Brymond

Wednesday 7th of December 2016

Why are these not allowed in the bin? meat bread dairy pasta crackers

I'm planning to throw my biodegradable wastes in my bin. Like leftovers, etc.

Holly

Thursday 8th of December 2016

In reality you can compost anything that comes from the earth and that includes meat. I just don't want yucky meat sitting in my backyard. If I had a bunch of land and could compost away from my home, I would add a bunch of stuff. Since this is a smaller bin, I like to compost natural items that will decompose quickly. I also don't want to put processed foods in there. I want it as natural as possible.