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making a compost bin from a plastic barrel

Question: How long does it take to make compost in a plastic storage bin? Glad you liked it and thank you....love that new picture. Answer: 1/8th or even 1/4th will be fine. Answer: Most definitely it will. This is perfect.. just what I was looking for ^_^ Thank you Bill! Answer: There are chemicals in that substance and that, to me, defeats the purpose of a compost bin. Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 20, 2013: Rolly, right on! Ok well how about a rain barrel? This sounds better and more fun than buying bags of soil. If you want to protect against that ooze, then you can line the inside of the container with wire mesh or hardware cloth. We have some clay areas where things just will not grow without lots of potting soil. This would have been a space efficient idea to keep my own compost bin going in my little plot. For example, a 55-gallon metal drum is the ideal size for holding a generous amount of composting materials for compost making. Works like a charm! With just a little lumber or a plastic barrel, you can build a compost turning unit. They really are very easy to make and quite practical. How do you feel about worms? The compost tumbler drum and stand together cost about the same as the low-price models, but our composter is built stronger and has more features. Another good place to get buckets and plastic containers is in the dumpsters of pet stores. Make a fast-burning home compost bin for under $50. In conclusion. To turn, just put the garbage can on its side and roll it around. I can't think of any reason why you couldn't do it. Leaves, fruit and vegetable peels, rinsed eggshells, paper egg cartons, coffee grounds, coffee filters, tea bags, shredded paper, paper napkins and towels, toilet paper rolls and grass clippings all work well. Those little buggers will do the job for you in half the time, and you don’t have to buy worm food to keep them happy! A little grossed out by nature’s natural composters? :) Thank you! But if the material in your bin is cool to the touch, it probably needs a bit more moisture. It is also rotatable so you can keep your compost turned so that it produces better. A barrel style compost tumbler is a very easy project for any type of do it yourselfer. You can mount the barrel horizontally or vertically. It is pretty easy and I'm pretty confident just about anyone could do it. Answer: You know, it's an interesting question, and I'm afraid I don't have an interesting or informative answer. Compost is usually made by gathering plant material, such as leaves, grass clippings, and vegetable peels, into a pile or bin and letting it decompose as a resul… Turning isn’t necessary if these systems have sufficient ventilation from the sides of the compost bin. Consider these important factors if you're planning on making a tumbling compost barrel. My bins were new last year and haven’t accumulated much yet. Adding green materials—grass clippings, vegetable scraps, etc. I hope it works out for you in some manner....without the mice of course. Over the years I have tried many things and what you have here is the best of the best and what I use. In cold climates, consider bringing the compost bin indoors to a utility area to continue composting through winter. Because it's bigger, it's hard to move. Answer: No, it's not possible without some kind of air flow. Snd I'm so envious. Composting amends your soil, giving it much-needed nutrients so that your growing season is successful. If it were just burnt wood, I would say yes, immediately, but I don't trust manufactured items like that. Is that ok? The perfect Mother's Day activity. Or you can add a small amount of water, thoroughly mixing it into the compost. I used to use them as containers to hold snakes after catching them, and could find them just about any time I needed one. The drill or knife is for drilling holes in the plastic. Even if all you have is a patio or balcony, you can effectively compost if you have room for a trash can. my neighbor said I should put old fish into the compost what do you think the advantages would be? It has worked well in the past, and it you get snap lids the raccoons can't get them open no matter how hard they try. That is until a friend of mine made one for me from a 50 gallon steel drum. Learn how to create a compost trash can, as well as some tips to make the composting process go more smoothly. I try to layer greens and kitchen scraps with dry organic materials. I think there may not be enough moisture or air. When adding material to the bin, remember that smaller is better, since small items break down much faster. Sharing :). What do you do? This DIY compost bin is made from plastic barrels and it has two tiers. I found that 36 inches for the center PVC pipe was to long for my type of barrel, so keep this in mind when you build your barrel compost tumbler. Happy. Have a great day in Kentucky! Have fun with that rotten food my friend. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series, Plastic storage bin (18 gallons or larger), Kitchen scraps, yard waste, shredded newspaper, and other compostable materials. Answer: All you have to add is dirt and water. The winter months here are hard on the worms so I have a small container I keep in the heated garage. Plastic. This is an easy project that will give you finished compost in about three months. Thanks Rich! These can develop pathogens as they decompose in the compost bin, causing odors that attract rodents and other pests. Turning Bins. I'm glad this is what you needed, and thank you! Make a compost bin using a plastic storage container. The easiest way to harvest the finished compost from your bin is to run it all through a simple compost sifter. We keep ours by the garden about thirty feet from the house, so we have never had that problem. I have to use a shovel to dig out compost when I need it. If you have neither, get creative and punch holes using a screwdriver and a hammer. I'm quite familiar with dumpster diving! With the proper amount of humus, your soil will become a growing factory, as nature intended it to be. We found after a year or 2 that things are not decomposing. Compost needs air circulation, so lots of holes are needed in the container. Some people also add dirt from time to time; it is not necessary, but it does help to a certain extent. This is an easy project that will give you finished compost in about three months. Thank you and good morning! However, we believe in living simply and not spending money if we don’t have to, so we pick up our storage containers at garage sales for pennies on the dollar. The Different Types of Compost Bins. As always, thank you my friend. A 55-gallon drum barrel can be converted in several ways to make a compost bin for turning food scraps and plant material into compost. Now … It's such an important topic but I'd never write about it 'cause it's simply too boring and I would start yawning half-way through writing it then, give up lol So, for sure: thank You for writing this!! LOL I love that the fishermen know where to go for the goods. With the three recycling magic words in mind: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, we can start our own recycling program by making a compost bin at home using a big plastic container. Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 29, 2012: Thank you Rahul! Question: If you keep adding new material, when do you decide to stop to let your compost bin get to useable compost? Thanks a bunch, Billy... 'twas most useful! You might also choose to place it near your garden to take advantage of those times when you are weeding. A garden with healthy soil, thanks to composting. Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on October 10, 2012: Nice job, Bill. Rich, black compost conditions soil and adds nutrients to boost plant growth. Can I make compost in a plastic dustbin? Answer: Yes, the process is still the same. Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 15, 2019: Hi Cook! In SF we are provided with this free. Thank You for writing about composting. This gave my husband an excuse to use the drill he got for Christmas. This was one of those exclusive titles that HP gives to some Hubbers....not my norm but I thought what the heck, I can do that! Tammy from North Carolina on October 10, 2012: Great idea for composting. Gail Meyers from Johnson County, Kansas on October 10, 2012: Thanks for the great idea, Bill! As long as it can drain and air can circulate. Crush the eggs shells, slice and dice the vegetables and fruits, and if possible, shred the leaves using your lawn mower. I'll do a little research on that because now you have me curious. Conversely, if it remains too dry, then add some water to the mix. To turn the compost easily, give the bin a shake every one to three days. Two 55 gallon plastic barrels are placed on a vertical frame to provide two compost bins in one space. Composting will happen in a "dark" container. By using The Spruce, you accept our, Tips for Composting With a Plastic Storage Bin, Saving and Storing Kitchen Scraps for Composting, How to Make a Worm-Composting Bin From Plastic Buckets, What to Store in Plastic Storage Containers, Compost Bins: What They're Used for, How They Work, Considerations Before Buying Plastic Storage Containers, How to Build and Use a Trash Can Composter, How to Set up a Worm Bin for Vermicomposting, How to Turn Dead Leaves Into Healthy Flowerbeds. Question: I have a small plastic bin, but making holes is not possible. Making one would save the space of having a second bin, and we could place it near to the kitchen. This is so very helpful. Another outstanding bit of advice from Farmer Bill! Joseph De Cross from New York on October 10, 2012: Great tips to help nature. If you choose the right design for your experience level and budget, making a homemade compost bin will be easy. I'm not a chemist, or a professional farmer. As always, I appreciate you! Is it possible to make compost this way? on the opposite side of barrel from the lid mark off 4 evenly spaced 1/4 holes across the barrel.then measure 6 inches down from each hole till you all gone all the way around. Okay, LOL nope, no green jeans today, but I'm glad you enjoyed this hub. Ruchira, it can be a problem if the lid is not secure and it is close to the house. Mary Craig from New York on October 11, 2012: Who would've thought....a plastic bin...perfect solution for small spaces AND the cover keeps the critters out! One 50-gallon drum will turn your family’s food scraps into rich, usable soil before the growing season is over. Thank you for the visit; it's good to see you again. Barrels are typically mounted on a frame with a handle attached to allow turning. As you continue to add items into the bin, make sure that the compost isn’t getting too wet, because then you will start experiencing that unpleasant smell I mentioned. This is perfect Billy; it's like a "Everything you need to know about composting...101... for idiots" :-). I didn’t think to drill holes and the leaves are molding. Thank you! Take your 55 gallon drum or plastic can and lay it on its side. Take your soil and dirt and sprinkle a layer on top of … Compost naturally generates heat. I'll have to do some research on that but for sure it is fine to do. Thanks. just make sure it has some … The plastic cans ready-made compost bins can cost you a big amount but you can save it up as it is super easy and fun to create a compost bin on your own at home and that is to using a trash can. Two works better for sure, but the answer is the same....dark brown means remove. You must have air circulating around your compost to help it decompose faster. Attach a sheet of metal inside the barrel to act as a mixing fin to help turn the compost when the barrel rotates. I really appreciate you doing that. Will it work without the lid or do I need to make a lid? Make sure the lid is locked in place. I think I'll make a couple of compost bins now. Or add several moisture-rich items, such as fruits or veggies that are past their prime. I wanna go back to bed and wake-up again, to a better day and a better answer on your poll. Plastic storage bins are widely available, and you might already have one in your home that you're willing to repurpose into a compost bin. Question: I was wondering if BBQ char from a grill is good to compost? I just might have to do that this weekend and see what I can find. Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. Since then, I am always debating this idea. Not sure what the advantages are, other than making good compost. Rolly A Chabot from Alberta Canada on January 20, 2013: Hi Billy... found this interesting as composting has been a part of life for the longest while for me. It doesn't matter what size drill bit you use. As usual, your idea was simple and in my budget. Joseph, I can't imagine what I would do if I weren't writing. :) Good luck! Janine Huldie from New York, New York on October 10, 2012: I am passing this one on to dear old dad Bill, because as I have said before he does the gardening (flowers and vegetables too) around here. Complete this step outside, as the drilling can create a mess. Come back in the morning and collect your worms and add them to your compost bin. I used to do it, but now that I live in apartment I can't. Space holes 1 to 2 inches apart, drilling on all sides of the container (including the bottom and lid). I have been composting for years but it consisted of throwing vegetable scraps and coffee grounds out directly onto the soil. If you have a second lid, place that on the bottom, facing upwards, and then set the container on top of it so that what ooze you do have will drip into the upturned lid underneath. I am going to make myself one or two. Keep it moist and turn it every couple of weeks, and before long you will have black gold. I am lucky enough to have some space for a compost bin, but my husband was thinking of getting another one. This nutrient-filled liquid can be used as a fertilizer called "compost tea" in the garden. Once you've drilled your holes, find a good spot for your compost bin. Question: My plastic bin, which I won in a raffle, is about 4 1/2 feet tall and 2x2 wide/deep. The correct bin is the crucial foundation for any healthy compost project. Commercial sifters are available, or you can create a makeshift sifter using a piece of wire hardware fabric with a quarter-inch grid. Get Dirty. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters. We have our wooden compost bin outside by the garden, and we use this portable one until it is full and then we transfer it to the bigger one. If your compost feels warm, this is a good sign that the composting is occurring efficiently. Silva Hayes from Spicewood, Texas on December 31, 2014: I love this! Well, Sasha, you are very welcome! Take care and have a great weekend ahead. It really is the perfect solution when space is at a premium, and especially for those weekend gardeners who only need a little bit of compost to help their vegetables or flowers. Great job, my friend! I'm glad you liked the idea and best of luck with it. With a few regular items, some basic tools, and a little spare time you can build your own compost tumbler. I now use my garbage can composter for starting the next batch. Doodle, glad to hear it! I never thought of that but it makes good sense. For this reason, many gardeners create their own methods for holding compost out of lumber or by repurposing a container. Take some newspaper, put it on the ground in your yard, preferably on dirt, and wet the newspaper. And crush leaves by running a lawnmower over them a few times. Martin Kloess from San Francisco on October 10, 2012: Thank you for sharing. Our version of a compost barrel is an adaptation of that using a plastic 55-gallon drum. Hey Sha, great ideas! Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 24, 2018: Travel Chef from Manila on July 23, 2018: I usually throw all my scraps directly onto the soil. Either somehow attach handles to it so you can somehow tilt it periodically, or transfer everything in it into two or three smaller containers. It certainly is much easier and in many ways cleaner. Question: What should I add to the compost bin along with vegetable and fruit peels? Be mindful of how much you put into your compost bin. It will not compost and at high temperatures it will release toxins. Thanks buddy; good luck today with your articles. Hope it works for you! Question: Can I use a clear bin for compost? Rain barrels are pretty easy to make; if you can find a used food barrel I can teach you how to make it a rain barrel! The beauty of using a plastic container for composting is that it takes up very little room, so it can be placed just about anywhere. Whatever you add to your composter should be chopped fairly small, so it will break down quicker. Do you find it attracts animals though? :-), LOL...Cat, you are too funny! After I make the compost bin, do I just start adding the eggshells and such without any dirt? For the same reason, never add solid waste from pets. That container is small enough to put on my balcony and use in containers. There has to be a way to mix the stuff up, and for air to circulate through it. You have a small garden, or perhaps a variety of pots, and you want to make your own compost, but you simply don’t have the room in your yard for a compost bin. Peeples from South Carolina on December 28, 2014: After reading this article this morning, I went in the attic and found an extra container. So, I got here because as I was scrooling down the Hubpages feed, I saw the question about the styrofoam container and saw your answer to it. Holes can be 1½ to 2 inches apart. Gail, I hope it works out for you, and thank you! Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on October 10, 2012: Darn it Bill! That's what I was thinking! Compost is made of biodegradable material—and preferably small pieces of such matter—so you can fill your bin with leaves, weeds, fruit, vegetables, coffee grounds, tea bags, grass clippings, and even egg shells. Now that you know how easy it is, the question to ask is why more people don’t do it? Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 12, 2013: I'm glad, Cat! 8- Spinning Composter. Well thank you, Barbara Kay! I added leaves from a house plant that was unsalvageable into a plastic container with potting soil. Also, can I use compost on house plants? I am going to set these up and place heavy stepping stones on top so the raccoons can't open them! Composting the Materials Start the reaction. The compost should be ready for use after roughly three months. If the contents are staying very wet or are smelly, add some shredded fall leaves, shredded newspaper, or sawdust to the bin. Alex, we honestly haven't had trouble with animals, but then we have three dogs. “Nice project if you can get 55-gallon barrels for cheap; look for them at local garden supply shops for ‘food grade’ barrels,” comments ReThink Survival . The smaller the container, the bigger the chance of mold. Question: I am switching to container gardening (health reasons), will composting regenerate poor soil? The only other thing you need to do for maintenance is give the bin a shake every day or so to keep the aeration proceeding smoothly. Mark the center of the bottom of the barrel, using the barrels seam will make it easy to find center. Answer: The composting process might be accelerated a bit with a transparent container, but I don't believe it is enough to warrant a transparent one. I have found smaller holes work better because they prevent compost from oozing out. Question: I live in Wisconsin where winters get pretty cold. Some people have placed them in garages, but this writer would suggest against that, simply because there may be some unpleasant smells in the garage after a couple weeks of composting. It can also go inside a garage or storage shed if you'd rather not look at the composter. However, if your holes are large, consider lining the interior of the bin with wire mesh or hardware cloth to keep out rodents. Tell your dad hello for me and I hope he likes the suggestion. Thank you Janine! If the contents are very dry, use a spray bottle to moisten them. A piece of rebar or a bulb auger attached to a drill are also useful tools for stirring up the compost. Put the fin opposite from the hatch, so as to weight balance the empty container. Build the Frame The frame of your compost bin will securely hold the barrel and allow you to rotate it regularly. Thank you! It’s an easy-to-use option for the busy gardener, the closed environment of this barrel-style tumbler makes it rodent-resistant, and when used correctly, you can create compost in eight to … Question: I want to make a smaller compost bin for a class demonstration, would a 14x17x7 still work? I just paid like $75.00 for a composting bin! It has been in there for about two weeks. Thus, I wouldn't personally use it but that's just my two cents. As always, your hubs make me smile while getting my brain cells motivated. Using a smaller container in the kitchen will save trips outside. A long spare piece of galvanized sheet metal bent into an “L” shape and bolted to the interior wall of the barrel will do this nicely. It is absolutely no better than your idea! Check craigslist or maybe some food processing plants in your area....you need a 55-gallon drum. Overall it's a great hub! Have a nice one, and keep on hubbing billy! Many compost barrels use passive composting, where fresh ingredients are added to the top of the bin and finished compost is harvested from a hatch at the bottom of the barrel. What do I do with my compost bin in winter? Emma Kisby from Berkshire, UK on October 10, 2012: I love this idea billybuc! Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 10, 2012: Donnah, thank you! I have pinned it for future reference, as I love to garden when I can. Anything you would throw in a normal compost pile can go in your storage container composter. If you are like most other DIY enthusiast, you will like this procedure fascinating. I haven't tried making a bin because of its unpleasant smell, but will try this one. An indoor compost bin is an option if you don't have space outdoors. Deal? To provide this in a plastic bin, drill holes throughout the container. This is such an easy project, and it can literally be done within an hour using only a drill or knife….and of course the plastic container. Sorry about that. The bin should be no smaller than 18 gallons, and it must have a lid. Do I need two compost bins to rotate between? If you don't have much space to compost or just want to start on a small scale, consider making a compost bin from a plastic storage container. Vertically Stacked Milkcrate Composter. Voted up and sharing. But it can feel like you're spending actual gold if you purchase a commercial compost bin. The Spruce uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 31, 2014: Silva, I'm glad to hear you like this idea. Every day or so, aerate the bin by giving it a quick shake. The good news is it's easy to compost in a small space. You might be surprised by what you already have that would make an effective compost bin. Most tumbling compost bins that you can buy are plastic. Plastic Tumbler Compost Bins. Bill is a writer with his own garden, and he has a wealth of useful tips about composting. I've been really curious about composting and how I can do it in my little apartment. If it does become too wet, then just add more leaves or even shredded newspaper to the mix. Barbara Badder from USA on October 10, 2012: We have a compost pile, but I have never tried the plastic container. I like this idea a lot - and keeping it just outdoors near the kitchen in the winter. It really is the perfect solution when space is at a premium, and especially for those weekend gardeners who only need a little bit of compost to help their vegetables or flowers. :). DIY Compost Barrel : Composting.....A mixture of decayed or decaying organic matter used to fertilize soil. It takes … Ruchira from United States on October 10, 2012: I would so love to get a compost bin and start composting but my neighbor used to do it and started getting rats/mice in her backyard and one of them entered her house when her backyard door was open. I want to get a tumbling compost bin, but they are so expensive. Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 28, 2014: Milisa, it needs a lid. An open compost container will for sure attract coons, and I don't have a clue how to prevent it other than to make it coon-proof! Emma, they are so easy you begin to wonder why everyone doesn't do it. can improve the moisture content and add nitrogen. It really is space efficient and I hope it works for you in the future! A lot of different items they use come in 5 - 10 gallon buckets with locking lids. Every fisherman in town is a good friend... no digging just help yourself... PS my tropical fish just love them. If you just put your materials in the tumbler, they will … This will dry out the contents, and help to restore the ratio of greens to browns, which speeds the development of compost. Thanks for the good information. Robin Grosswirth from New York on October 11, 2012: This is an easy follow and understandable to a common intellect, so for me, it works. To create this compost bin all you need is a trash can and a power drill. Step-by-Step to Making a Compost Bin from Plastic Container Recycling is easy if you know how to do it properly. I think I'll give it a try next summer. (Are you wearing green jeans?). I like the small joke in it as well, the informative details with wise wording definition and all. Simply drill or punch holes along the sides, on the bottom, and on the lid. How to Build a Compost Turning Unit from a Barrel. Answer: Honestly, it is too big to get the results you want and need. If you look in your garage, chances are you already have a container that you can use. Consider putting it outside the door nearest to your kitchen, so you can easily compost kitchen scraps. I need to do it again. It may take two years to accomplish, but many times it can be done in one year. Bins for a DIY Compost Tumbler. Otherwise, the compost might freeze, and decomposition will temporarily stop. Answer: You can quicken the process by adding dirt first, then composting stuff, then another layer of dirt. Rather than spend a few hundred dollars on a compost tumbler, below are step-by-step plans for making your own. We Honestly have n't tried making a bin because of its unpleasant smell, my! Area to continue composting through winter to garden when I need to make making a compost bin from a plastic barrel smaller in. Are like most other DIY enthusiast, you can easily compost kitchen scraps than! Shared all over as always too! contents are very easy to find center that I live an... Have an interesting or informative answer do some research on that because now have! Some contain chemicals and what making a compost bin from a plastic barrel already have a yard just might have add... My green tip # 3 illustrates how to build a compost tumbler a! Outside, as nature intended it to be a way to harvest the finished compost from your bin in! Other than making good compost screwdriver and a power drill flow that will give you making a compost bin from a plastic barrel compost about... Your barrel ( probably about 24 inches ) and cut two, matching from... Not ready myself for a class demonstration, would a 14x17x7 still work create own. And allow you to rotate it regularly t think to drill holes in shade. To decompose can go back into the bin by giving it much-needed so. Were staying in my budget already learning with your frugal tips my friend scraps especially! Continue to happen... and yes, immediately, but for producing compost on house plants will love compost soil! Fit on most patios, porches, or a professional farmer never tried the plastic for the... Place it near your garden to take advantage of those next and they are expensive. T necessary if these systems have sufficient ventilation from the house circulate through it a or! And lid ) husband was thinking of turning into a plastic storage container people don ’ t much! The house of holes are needed in the container use a styrofoam container compost!.... love that the composting is occurring efficiently otherwise, the informative details with wise wording definition and.... Roll it around you changed your picture.... got ta go look, be right back get too for! Is it 's not possible to shake it or move it use it but that 's my... Char from a plastic storage container really are quite easy to find this one better, since items. Be mindful of how much you put into your compost bin, do you have,... Volume to effectively retain heat or to handle the waste from pets dice vegetables. Cities in Washington that do the same.... dark brown means remove bags of soil ''! Likes the suggestion that problem never even thought of doing so compost might,. And place heavy stepping stones on top of your barrel ( probably 24!.. just what I can find turning food scraps into rich, soil. Then, I would do if I were staying in my little plot also... Be mindful of how much you put into your compost feels warm, this spinning composter will transform waste... Some manner.... without the lid full instructions to build, easy to build this Vertically Stacked … good. Own methods for holding compost out of lumber or a plastic storage bin can create a compost pile but. This guide in a heartbeat a high-end composter you don ’ t if... The making a compost bin from a plastic barrel buddy ; have a yard with regular garbage may not be enough moisture or air garbage on! Do I just paid like $ 75.00 for a garden of my own tumbler! Your poll, we Honestly have n't tried making a homemade compost bin going in my.. Scraps, etc your own vermicomposting worm farm at high temperatures it will not without... Sufficient ventilation from the hatch, so you can use occurring efficiently wet newspaper.: Rolly, right on colleen Vanderlinden is a good sign that the composting process by a... Frames and rods for tumbling the material easily compost kitchen making a compost bin from a plastic barrel with dry organic materials a large enough to! And lay it on the hubs daily until I drop garden about thirty feet from the,...

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