How to make compost at home

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Written byKristian Hickson-Booth

Composting is a great way to recycle garden and some household waste with the benefits going directly back into the soil to improve its structure and nutrient values. There are different ways in which you can create your own composting bin depending on the available space you have. Here are several types and ways to create your own composting bin that are both cost effective and easy. 


Creating a compost bin with chicken wire & posts/bamboo canes

This is a basic netted structure to hold your green waste and enable it to breakdown into compost. It can be any size and any shape because of the flexibility of materials. You will need some chicken wire and several wooden post or strong bamboo canes to support the chicken wire framework (see the sketch diagram below). 

Set up steps:

Easy peasy compost bin

Easy peasy compost bin

  1. Measure the area to be covered

  2. Cut your chicken wire to length

  3. Decide how many posts/bamboo canes you will need for supporting the wire.

  4. If you use bamboo canes – Form the chicken wire into shape, a circle, square, rectangle or oblong and fix the two ends together. Then stand in an upright position and slide in the bamboo canes through the chicken wire. Alternating between holes as you work from top to bottom. 

  5. If you use posts – knock in the wooden posts equal distances following the shape of your compost bin. Then wrap the chicken wire around the outer edge of the posts. You can either us cable ties or string to create a tight fixing to the posts. Join the two ends together and then you are ready to begin starting your compost. 

Creating a compost bin using recycled pallets

This is a great option for a larger garden and one where you will be composting more garden waste. 

You will need a minimum of three pallets — ideally the same size, although not essential. You are then creating a back and two sides, it is optional to have a front retaining pallet, I prefer to have easy access to the front. Each pallet can be fixed together using screws/nails or fixing brackets. Ideally you need to make sure the ground is level and your pallets are level with each other, not always possible if you are working on a slope. It is optional whether you place a membrane down at the base of your composting bays or use the direct ground as your base. Now you are ready to go and make compost!


Alternative composting systems 

For limited spaces, you can also use commercial products such as a composting pop-up bags or tiny thermal composting boxes which work well. If you want to scale up you can use a compost tumbler drum, this is a system whereby you fill the tumbler with your composting materials and turn it in cycles as required during the process of making compost.

The top-of-the-range system comes in the form of a hotbox, these are compost bins that are designed to create thermal heat fast and ultimately increases the acceleration process of composting. Using this system, you can have compost ready within 8-12 weeks.

As a recap when creating a composing system, you require a good balance of layered materials, watering into the layers helps to accelerate the composting action. Adding a layer of cardboard will help seal in the heat. The hotter your composting bay is the faster you will create good garden compost. 

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