Compost Bin How to Start: A Guide to Beginning Your Own Sustainable Garden

compost bin how to start

If you’re wondering how to start a compost bin, you’re in the right place! Composting is not only an excellent way to reduce waste, but it also enriches your garden soil and promotes healthy plant growth. It’s like turning your kitchen scraps into black gold! But where do you begin? Don’t worry – in this beginner’s guide, I’ll walk you through the process step by step. Together, we’ll explore the basics of composting, the different types of compost bins you can choose from, what you can and can’t compost, and share some helpful tips to ensure success along the way.

So roll up your sleeves, grab a pitchfork, and let’s get started on this eco-friendly adventure!

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1. Choosing the Right Bin

So you’ve decided to start composting, but where do you begin? One of the first steps is to choose the right compost bin. There are many different types available, so it’s important to consider your needs and preferences. If you have limited space, a small, compact bin may be the best option.

On the other hand, if you have a large yard or garden, you may want a larger, open bin that allows for easy turning and mixing of the compost. It’s also important to consider the material of the bin. Plastic bins are lightweight and easy to move, while metal bins are more durable.

Consider factors such as ventilation, drainage, and accessibility when choosing your compost bin. By selecting the right bin for your needs, you’ll be on your way to creating nutrient-rich compost for your plants and reducing waste in a sustainable way.

a. Plastic Bin

plastic bin, choosing the right bin So you’re in the market for a plastic bin, but with so many options out there, how do you choose the right one? Well, first things first, you need to consider how you plan on using the bin. Are you looking for something to store toys in? Or maybe you need a bin for organizing your garage. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to consider the size and features of the bin that will best suit your needs.

If you’re looking for a bin to store small items like toys or art supplies, a smaller size with compartments or dividers could be a great choice. This will help keep everything organized and easily accessible. On the other hand, if you need a bin for larger items like sports equipment or gardening tools, you’ll want to go for a larger size with a sturdy construction.

Look for bins made from durable materials like high-density polyethylene (HDPE) that can withstand heavy use and resist cracking or breaking. In addition to size and construction, you’ll also want to consider any special features that might make using the bin easier or more convenient. Wheels are a popular feature on larger bins, allowing you to easily move them around without straining your back.

Lids are another important consideration, especially if you’ll be storing items that need to be kept secure or protected from dust and dirt. Finally, don’t forget about aesthetics. While the main purpose of a plastic bin is functionality, it doesn’t hurt to choose one that looks nice too.

Consider your personal style and the aesthetic of the space where the bin will be used. There are plenty of options available in a wide range of colors and designs, so you’re sure to find one that suits your taste. So when it comes to choosing the right plastic bin, think about how you plan on using it, the size and construction that will best meet your needs, any special features that would be helpful, and of course, your personal style.

With these considerations in mind, you’ll be well on your way to finding the perfect bin for your needs.

compost bin how to start

b. Wooden Bin

Choosing the Right Bin for Your Wooden Compost System If you’re considering using a wooden bin for your composting needs, you’re already on the right track! Wooden bins are a popular choice because they are environmentally friendly, aesthetically pleasing, and easy to maintain. However, not all wooden bins are created equal, and it’s important to choose the right one to ensure optimal composting success. Here are a few factors to consider when selecting a wooden bin.

First and foremost, think about the size of the bin. You want to make sure it’s large enough to accommodate your composting needs. If you have a small garden or only produce a moderate amount of kitchen waste, a smaller bin may be sufficient.

However, if you have a large garden or generate a lot of organic waste, you may need a larger bin to handle the volume. Next, consider the design of the bin. Wooden bins come in many different shapes and styles, ranging from simple square boxes to more intricate designs with multiple compartments.

Think about your space constraints and how the bin will fit into your garden or backyard. It’s also worth considering whether you want a bin with a lid or without- a lid can help contain odors and pests, but it may also make access to the compost more difficult. Another important factor to consider is the ventilation.

Proper airflow is crucial for successful composting, as it allows for the breakdown of organic matter. Look for a bin with adequate airflow features, such as wire mesh sides or ventilation holes. These features will help ensure that your compost stays oxygenated and healthy.

Lastly, consider the durability and longevity of the bin. Wooden bins can last for many years if they are made from high-quality, rot-resistant wood. Look for bins that are constructed from materials like cedar or redwood, as these woods are known for their durability and resistance to decay.

2. Selecting the Location

When starting a compost bin, one of the first things you need to consider is selecting the location. This decision can greatly affect the success of your composting endeavor. Ideally, you want to choose a spot that receives a good amount of sunlight and is easily accessible for adding materials and turning the pile.

Additionally, you’ll want to choose a location that is away from strong odors or areas prone to pests. It’s important to keep in mind that your compost bin will need to be placed on the ground, so finding a level spot is also essential. Taking the time to carefully select the location will set you up for success and ensure your compost bin is off to a great start.

So, go ahead and take a look around your yard or garden and find the perfect spot to start your composting journey.

a. Outdoor

When selecting the location for an outdoor activity, there are a few key factors to consider. First and foremost, think about the purpose of the activity. Are you looking for a spot for a family picnic, a hike through nature, or a sports tournament? Each of these activities requires a different type of location.

For a picnic, you’ll want a spacious and scenic area with enough shade and facilities nearby. Hiking would require a trail that offers a variety of terrain and beautiful landscapes. And for a sports tournament, you’ll need a large open field or court.

Another important consideration is accessibility. Choose a location that is easy to reach for everyone who will be participating. Additionally, take into account the amenities available at the location.

Are there restrooms, picnic tables, or grill areas? These can greatly enhance the overall experience. Lastly, think about the weather conditions. Is the location prone to extreme heat, strong winds, or heavy rainfall? Keep in mind the comfort and safety of your participants.

Overall, selecting the right location for your outdoor activity is crucial for creating a memorable and enjoyable experience for all involved.

b. Indoor

When it comes to setting up an indoor garden, selecting the right location is key to the success of your plants. One important factor to consider is the amount of natural light that the location receives. Most plants require at least six hours of sunlight each day, so it’s important to choose a spot that gets adequate sunlight.

If your desired location receives less sunlight, you can supplement with grow lights to ensure your plants get the light they need. Another factor to consider is the temperature and humidity of the location. Many indoor plants prefer temperatures between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit and a humidity level around 40-60%.

It’s also important to choose a location with good air circulation to prevent stagnant air and potential issues with pests and diseases. Lastly, consider the accessibility of the location for watering, maintenance, and harvesting. You want a location that is easy to reach and allows you to take care of your plants without any inconvenience.

By carefully considering these factors, you can select the perfect location for your indoor garden and set yourself up for success.

3. Adding the Right Ingredients

Starting a compost bin is a great way to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil for your garden. One of the most important steps in starting a compost bin is adding the right ingredients. To create a successful compost pile, you’ll need a combination of green and brown materials.

Green materials include things like fresh grass clippings, fruit and vegetable scraps, and coffee grounds. These materials are rich in nitrogen and will help to speed up the decomposition process. Brown materials, on the other hand, include things like dried leaves, twigs, and shredded newspaper.

These materials are rich in carbon and help to create the right balance in your compost pile. By combining these green and brown materials, you’ll create the perfect environment for the organisms in your compost pile to break down organic matter into nutrient-rich compost. So the next time you’re starting a compost bin, remember to add the right ingredients for success.

a. Greens

Ingredients, Burstiness, Perplexity, Adding, Right Ingredients, Greens. So, you’ve got your greens ready to go, but what else should you add to make them truly delicious? Adding the right ingredients can take your greens from boring to amazing in no time. But what are the right ingredients? Well, it all depends on your taste preferences and the dish you’re making.

One great option is to add some burstiness to your greens. Burstiness refers to adding ingredients that bring a pop of flavor and texture to the dish. This could include things like toasted nuts, crispy bacon, or even a tangy vinaigrette.

These additions not only add a burst of excitement to your greens but also provide a nice contrast to their natural flavors. Now let’s talk about perplexity. Perplexity is all about adding ingredients that make your greens more interesting and complex.

This could mean adding things like a sprinkle of smoked paprika, a drizzle of balsamic reduction, or even some crumbled feta cheese. These additions will make your greens more intriguing and keep your taste buds guessing. But don’t forget about the main star of the dish, the greens themselves.

Make sure to choose the right variety of greens for your dish. Whether it’s kale, spinach, arugula, or something else entirely, the type of greens you use can make a big difference in the overall flavor and texture of your dish. So, the next time you’re making greens, don’t just settle for plain old salad.

Add some burstiness and perplexity to take them to the next level. Experiment with different ingredients and flavors to find the perfect combination for your taste buds. Your greens will thank you!

b. Browns

When it comes to adding the right ingredients to your brownies, there are a few key components that can take your recipe from good to great. One important ingredient to consider is the type of chocolate you use. Using high-quality chocolate with a high cocoa content will result in a richer, more intense chocolate flavor.

You can also experiment with different types of chocolate, such as milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or even white chocolate, to create unique flavor combinations. Another ingredient to pay attention to is the type of fat you use in your brownies. Most recipes call for butter, which adds flavor and richness.

However, you can also try using alternative fats such as coconut oil or even nut butter for a different twist. Just be sure to consider the flavor profile you’re aiming for and how the fat will affect the texture of the brownies. Next, the type of sugar you use can also make a difference in your brownies.

While most recipes call for white granulated sugar, you can experiment with different types of sugar, such as brown sugar or even maple syrup, to add a hint of caramel flavor. Just keep in mind that different types of sugar can affect the texture and sweetness, so adjust accordingly. Finally, don’t forget to add some extras to your brownie batter.

This could be anything from chopped nuts to dried fruits or even a swirl of caramel or peanut butter. These additions can add texture and flavor to your brownies, making them even more delicious. In conclusion, adding the right ingredients to your brownies can take them to the next level.

By considering the type of chocolate, fat, sugar, and extras you use, you can create a truly unique and mouthwatering batch of brownies. So get in the kitchen and start experimenting with different flavors and combinations to find your perfect brownie recipe. Happy baking!

c. Water

In the previous sections, we discussed the importance of water and how it plays a critical role in our daily lives. But did you know that adding the right ingredients to our water can have a significant impact on our health and well-being? That’s right, something as simple as adding a few extra elements to our water can make all the difference. But what exactly are these ingredients? Well, there are a few key ones that you should consider.

Firstly, let’s talk about lemon. Adding a slice of lemon to your water not only adds a refreshing flavor but also provides a host of health benefits. Lemon is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, which can help boost your immune system and fight against harmful free radicals.

It also aids in digestion, cleanses your liver, and promotes healthy skin. Next up is cucumber. This humble vegetable is mostly water, making it the perfect addition to your hydration routine.

Cucumber not only adds a touch of freshness to your water but is also packed with nutrients such as vitamin K and potassium. It can help to reduce inflammation, support healthy digestion, and even aid in weight loss. And let’s not forget about mint.

Adding a few sprigs of fresh mint to your water can take it to a whole new level. Mint not only adds a refreshing taste but also has many health benefits. It can help soothe an upset stomach, relieve indigestion, and even freshen your breath.

Lastly, we have berries. Whether it’s strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries, adding a handful of berries to your water can add a burst of flavor and provide additional health benefits. Berries are rich in antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins, making them a great choice for a refreshing and nutritious drink.

4. Maintaining the Compost Bin

So, you’ve set up your compost bin and started adding your organic waste, but what comes next? Maintaining the compost bin is key to turning your kitchen scraps and yard waste into nutrient-rich compost. Here are some essential tips to keep in mind: Firstly, it’s important to regularly turn or mix the contents of your compost bin. This helps to aerate the pile and prevents it from becoming too compacted.

Turning the compost also helps to distribute moisture evenly and speeds up the decomposition process. You can use a pitchfork or a compost aerator to mix up the materials. Secondly, keep an eye on the moisture level in your compost bin.

It should be moist, but not overly wet. If it’s too dry, the decomposition process will slow down. Conversely, if it’s too wet, it can become smelly and attract pests.

Aim for a damp sponge-like consistency. If it’s too dry, add some water. If it’s too wet, add some dry brown materials like leaves or shredded newspaper.

Thirdly, regularly add brown materials to your compost bin. These are carbon-rich materials like dried leaves, straw, or shredded newspaper. Adding a good mix of green and brown materials helps to maintain the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio, which is essential for the decomposition process.

Aim for a ratio of about 3 parts brown materials to 1 part green materials. Lastly, be patient. Composting takes time, and it’s normal for the process to take several months to a year before you have finished compost ready to use in your garden.

a. Turning the Bin

compost bin maintenance, turning the bin Blog Section h3: “Maintaining the Compost Bin” Now that you have your compost bin up and running, it’s important to maintain it properly to ensure the best possible results. One crucial step in maintaining your compost bin is turning it regularly. Turning the bin helps to aerate the compost and mix the contents, promoting decomposition and preventing odors.

So, how often should you turn the bin? Well, it depends on various factors such as the size of your bin, the amount of waste you add, and the climate in your area. As a general rule of thumb, it’s recommended to turn the bin every 2-3 weeks. However, if you notice a foul smell or the compost is not decomposing evenly, you may need to turn it more frequently.

In addition to turning, you’ll also want to keep an eye on the moisture level of your compost. It should be damp, like a wrung-out sponge, but not overly wet. If it’s too dry, add some water; if it’s too wet, add some dry materials like leaves or shredded newspaper.

Maintaining the right moisture balance is crucial for effective composting. So, don’t forget to turn your bin regularly and keep an eye on the moisture levels to ensure a healthy, productive composting process.

b. Monitoring Moisture

Composting is a great way to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil for your garden. However, to ensure that your compost bin is working effectively, it’s important to monitor the moisture levels. Too much moisture can lead to a slimy, smelly mess, while too little moisture can slow down the decomposition process.

So, how do you maintain the proper moisture balance in your compost bin? One method is to regularly check the moisture level by squeezing a handful of the compost. It should feel like a damp sponge – moist but not excessively wet or dry. If it’s too dry, you can add some water to the bin.

On the other hand, if it’s too wet, you can add some dry materials like leaves or shredded newspaper to absorb the excess moisture. Remember, maintaining the right moisture level is crucial for a healthy composting process. So, keep an eye on it and make adjustments as needed.

c. Managing Temperature

compost bin maintenance, temperature control The temperature of your compost bin plays a crucial role in maintaining an efficient composting process. You want to ensure that the temperature is neither too hot nor too cold, as extreme temperatures can disrupt the decomposition process. Ideally, you want to maintain a temperature between 120-160 degrees Fahrenheit (49-71 degrees Celsius).

To achieve this, you can add a layer of insulation to your compost bin, such as straw or shredded newspaper, to help regulate the temperature. Regularly monitoring the temperature of your compost pile is also important. If it’s too hot, you can turn the pile to release excess heat or add more carbon-rich or “brown” materials to cool it down.

On the other hand, if the temperature is too low, you can add nitrogen-rich or “green” materials to heat it up. By actively managing and maintaining the temperature of your compost bin, you can ensure that the organic materials break down effectively and efficiently, resulting in nutrient-rich compost for your garden.

5. Troubleshooting Common Issues

So you’ve decided to start composting and have just set up your compost bin. Congratulations! But now what? How do you actually get started with composting? The first step is to add your organic waste to the compost bin. This can include food scraps like fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, and eggshells, as well as yard waste like grass clippings and leaves.

It’s important to make sure you have the right balance of green and brown materials in your compost bin. Green materials provide nitrogen and include things like kitchen scraps and fresh grass clippings, while brown materials provide carbon and include things like dry leaves and cardboard. Aim for a ratio of roughly 3 parts brown materials to 1 part green materials.

Mix these materials together in your compost bin and make sure they are moist but not too wet. You may also want to add a compost starter or activator to speed up the decomposition process. Lastly, remember to regularly turn or mix your compost to aerate it and speed up decomposition.

With a little time and attention, your compost will soon turn into nutrient-rich soil that you can use in your garden. Happy composting!

a. Smell

smell, odor, troubleshooting

b. Pests

common pest issues Dealing with pests is a common headache for many homeowners. Whether it’s ants invading your kitchen, spiders weaving their webs in corners, or mosquitoes buzzing around your backyard, pests can be a nuisance. But fear not, there are ways to troubleshoot these common pest issues and reclaim your home.

One effective method is practicing good hygiene and cleanliness. By keeping your surroundings clean and free from food crumbs or standing water, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of pests finding their way into your living space. Another solution is sealing up any cracks or gaps in your walls, windows, or doors.

This will not only prevent the entry of pests but also improve the overall insulation of your home. Additionally, using natural remedies such as peppermint oil or vinegar can act as a deterrent for certain pests. Finally, if the problem persists, it may be necessary to consult with a professional pest control service.

They have the expertise to assess the situation and implement targeted solutions to eliminate the pests from your home. Remember, prevention and early intervention are key when it comes to tackling common pest issues. By taking the necessary steps, you’ll be able to enjoy a pest-free and peaceful living environment.

c. Slow Decomposition

troubleshooting common issues with slow decomposition. When it comes to composting, one of the most common issues people face is slow decomposition. You may find that your compost pile is taking longer than expected to break down and turn into nutrient-rich soil.

If you’re dealing with this problem, don’t worry – there are several troubleshooting steps you can take to speed up the decomposition process. The first thing to consider is the balance of carbon and nitrogen in your compost pile. These two elements are essential for the breakdown of organic matter.

If your pile has too much carbon-rich material (such as dried leaves or straw) and not enough nitrogen-rich material (such as food scraps or grass clippings), this can slow down decomposition. Try adding more nitrogen-rich materials to your pile, or even using a compost activator to boost the process. Another factor that can contribute to slow decomposition is the size of your compost materials.

If you’re throwing large chunks of food waste or bulky plant matter into your pile, it will take longer for these materials to break down. Consider chopping or shredding them into smaller pieces before adding them to the compost. This will create more surface area for the microorganisms in your pile to work on, speeding up decomposition.

Inadequate aeration is another common issue that can cause slow decomposition. Your compost pile needs oxygen to support the growth of aerobic bacteria, which are responsible for breaking down organic matter. If your pile is compacted or too dense, it may not be getting enough air.

You can improve aeration by turning your pile regularly with a pitchfork or shovel. This will incorporate fresh oxygen and help distribute moisture evenly, creating a more favorable environment for decomposition. Lastly, temperature can play a role in the speed of decomposition.

6. Using the Compost

Starting and maintaining a compost bin may seem threatening, but it’s actually quite simple. To begin, you’ll need a bin or container to house the compost. This can be a purchased compost bin or a DIY solution such as a wooden box or even a repurposed trash can.

Once you have your bin, find a suitable location for it in your backyard. The ideal spot is one that receives partial sunlight and is easily accessible, so you can regularly add and turn the compost. Next, you’ll want to start with a good mix of green and brown materials.

Green materials include kitchen scraps like fruit and vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, and grass clippings. Brown materials include dry leaves, straw, and shredded newspaper. Layering these materials will help create a balanced compost that decomposes efficiently.

It’s important to regularly turn the compost to ensure proper aeration and decomposition. This can be done with a pitchfork or a compost aerator. Lastly, it’s important to monitor the moisture level of the compost.

It should be damp, similar to a wrung-out sponge. If it’s too dry, add water, and if it’s too wet, add dry materials like leaves or shredded paper. Within a few months, you’ll have nutrient-rich compost ready to use in your garden.

So don’t be afraid to jump in and start composting – your plants will thank you!

a. When is the Compost Ready?

Using the Compost Once your compost has finished decomposing and is ready to be used, there are several ways you can utilize it to benefit your garden. One option is to spread a layer of compost on top of your soil. This will help improve the soil structure and provide important nutrients for your plants.

Another way to use the compost is by mixing it with potting soil or garden soil when planting new plants. This will give them a healthy boost right from the start. You can also create compost tea by steeping a bag of compost in water overnight.

This nutrient-rich liquid can be used as a foliar spray or poured directly onto the soil around your plants. Additionally, you can use compost as a natural mulch to help conserve moisture and suppress weeds in your garden beds. By using your compost in these various ways, you will not only improve the health of your soil, but also promote healthier and more abundant plant growth.

b. How to Use the Compost

One of the amazing benefits of composting is being able to use the rich and nutrient-packed compost in your garden. Once your compost is ready, it’s time to put it to good use! Using compost in your garden is simple and has many advantages. First, you’ll want to determine how much compost you need for your specific plants or garden beds.

A general rule of thumb is to apply a layer of compost about 2-4 inches thick. This will provide a good amount of nutrients to your plants without suffocating the roots. Next, you can spread the compost evenly over the soil surface and gently work it into the top few inches using a garden fork or shovel.

This will help the compost mix with the soil and allow your plants to access the nutrients more easily. If you have potted plants, you can mix some compost with the potting soil to give them a nutrient boost. Remember to water your plants after applying the compost to help it settle and get absorbed into the soil.

Using compost in your garden not only enriches the soil, but it also improves its structure, helps retain moisture, promotes beneficial soil organisms, and reduces the need for chemical fertilizers. So why not take advantage of your compost and give your garden a natural and eco-friendly boost?

7. Final Thoughts

Starting a compost bin can be a great way to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil for your garden. If you’re new to composting, don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it may seem. The first step is to choose a location for your bin.

Ideally, you want a spot that is easily accessible but also out of the way. Next, you’ll need to decide what type of bin to use. There are many options available, from simple DIY bins made from repurposed materials to more high-tech tumblers.

Once you have your bin set up, it’s time to start adding materials. A good rule of thumb is to aim for a 50/50 mix of green and brown materials. Green materials include things like vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, and grass clippings, while brown materials include items like leaves, straw, and shredded newspaper.

It’s important to regularly turn and aerate your compost to ensure proper decomposition. And don’t forget to keep your compost moist, but not too wet. With a little time and patience, you’ll soon have rich, dark compost ready to use in your garden.

So why not give it a try? Starting a compost bin is a great way to reduce waste and create a more sustainable garden.


In conclusion, starting a compost bin is like building a thriving ecosystem in your backyard. It’s a magical transformation from putrid leftovers to nutrient-rich gold for your garden. It’s like conducting a symphony of decomposers, turning food scraps into a harmonious masterpiece of soil fertility.

So, why not embark on this green adventure and give your kitchen waste a second chance to shine? Remember, with a compost bin, you’ll be reducing waste, saving money on fertilizers, and earning bragging rights for your sustainability efforts. So, go forth, my composting friends, and may your gardens flourish, your flowers bloom, and your compost piles always reach new heights of greatness!


What is a compost bin?
A compost bin is a container where organic materials, such as food scraps, yard waste, and leaves, are broken down into nutrient-rich compost through the process of decomposition.

Why should I start a compost bin?
Starting a compost bin has several benefits. It reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills, improves soil quality, reduces the need for chemical fertilizers, and helps preserve the environment.

Can I start a compost bin in my backyard?
Yes, you can start a compost bin in your backyard. You can use a store-bought compost bin or build your own using materials like wood, wire mesh, or plastic. Make sure to choose a location that is convenient for adding materials and provides proper drainage.

What can I put in a compost bin?
You can put a variety of organic materials in a compost bin, including fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags, eggshells, yard waste (such as leaves and grass clippings), and shredded paper or cardboard.

What should I avoid putting in a compost bin?
There are some materials you should avoid putting in a compost bin, such as meat, dairy products, oily or greasy foods, pet waste, diseased plants, and chemically treated wood or yard waste. These materials can attract pests, create odor issues, or introduce harmful substances into the compost.

How often should I turn the compost in my bin?
To ensure proper decomposition, it’s recommended to turn the compost in your bin every few weeks. This helps aerate the materials and promotes faster decomposition. However, if you have a compost tumbler, you can simply rotate it every few days to mix the contents.

How long does it take for compost to be ready?
The time it takes for compost to be ready can vary depending on factors such as the types of materials used, the size of the compost bin, and the environmental conditions. Generally, it takes around 2 to 6 months for compost to be fully decomposed and ready to use in the garden.

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