How to Compost in Your Backyard

by Sharon Quercioli

All of us create a lot of trash. Sometimes we can recycle the waste we create. Other times, we can compost some of our waste. Both approaches can help reduce the amount of garbage that pile up. Not only will that save you on your garbage bill, it will also help you reduce your carbon footprint.

Composting is what happens when you take organic matter and decompose it to make fertilizer. Most compost bins use a pile of organic matter (called green waste) and slowly break it down into humus, which happens over the course of weeks. You can use the fertilizer that you create for your garden, in agriculture or general landscaping.

Building a compost bin can be relatively easy. The simplest design is a wire-mesh bin. Take a roll of wire mesh, roll it into a cylindrical shape, and support that shape with wooden stakes. You can tie the ends together with plastic ties, string or wire.

If you want Compost Growingsomething that is easy but looks a little better than just a wire mesh tube, try making one out of wooden pallets. You can find them at your local nurseries, markets and other outlets. Call around and you’ll be able to find five of these in no time. All you have to do is connect four of the five pallets into the shape of a box. Then use the fifth for a base.

You may want to create something that can help hold in some of that scent, like a decorative brick compost bin. This is a bit pricier, but there are more advantages. You can build it to the dimensions that you want. It is more visually appealing. To do this, you’re going to have to dig a trench to build a base and install a foundation pad made with something like crushed rock. Leaving the top open will allow for more air flow, which will otherwise be restricted due to the brick. The good news is that you can build a mesh top to help with that. The mesh top will also help keep little animals out.

If you want to try composting for a while but don’t want to build anything elaborate during this trial process, try making one out of a large cardboard box. You will be able to get a large box from a supermarket, appliance store or major retail outlet like Sam’s Club or Costco. Just make sure that you’ve got a lid on the box to shield the contents from the weather. In Florida, we frequently have “surprise” thunderstorms, which means that there can be a sudden heavy rainfall—like Mother Nature just flipped a switch.

Line the bottom of the box with bricks to help it hold its shape. If you want a little more support, you can even line the outside of the box with a bit of chicken wire. The box itself should turn into compost eventually, so this bin will only last you a year or even less.

What do you use for composting? Do you have an idea, question or thought that you would like to share? Don’t forget to jot that down in the comment section below. I would love to hear from you guys!

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