Easy DIY Compost Solution

In my last post about my garden I mentioned that I’ve been mulling over compost ideas and locations, and I took a quick poll on Facebook to get some input as well. This past weekend I put together a solution, for free (my favorite!) and so far it’s working out great.

Like my garden, it’s not the most glamorous set up… but I mean, it’s basically a giant bin of decomposing trash so how pretty is it going to get:

diy compost bin

About a year ago my city changed their trash management system and everyone got new bins so our old trash cans were sort of just hanging out next to our shed. I decided to use the one without a cover to hold our leaves and grass clippings and the one that has a cover for the actual compost. It’s just the two of us so we’re not creating a huge amount of compost- lots of tea, fruit/vegetable scraps, and old bread. I’ve also read that you can add nail clippings, pet fur, shredded toilet paper rolls, and cotton balls so I’ll add those in slowly as well.

I surrounded the buckets with some cement blocks we already had on hand because we get some pretty rough weather and I wanted to make sure they weren’t going to tip over at any point, and I put the whole set up right next to the garden so it’ll be nearby when I set up the garden next year. The metal gate around it is, I think, an old dog pen. I found it in the shed when we moved in and thought it’d be good to keep the dog and any kids that come over from investigating too closely.

home made compost bin

For ventilation, I used my power drill with a spade bit to randomly drill holes all over the bucket- especially the bottom because you want worms and little bugs to be able to get up in there and do their work. This was super easy and took about 15 minutes. There’s a lot of different opinions about how often to stir it- for the first few days I stirred it everyday just to make sure it was mixed and now I’m going to start just once every week or two. That’s what the giant branch in between the two buckets is for. 🙂

We’ve got what we jokingly call the “slop bucket system” going to add compost each day. Basically, we put all the scraps in a metal bucket throughout the day (which we keep in the fridge so there’s no odor in the house and the cats can’t get to it), then at night when I water the garden I dump the bucket and leave it outside the door until morning.

So far so good, and no animals have gotten in that I know of! I’m excited to see how this comes together throughout the year, and how it’ll help my garden next year. Isn’t it such a bummer that everything you do outside takes so long before you see results?

But speaking of results… look! Tiny little tomatoes are happening!


Last year I came up with an ugly, albeit easy and maintainable, composting plan. You can read all about my super simple and very free compost system here – it consists of two garbage cans and a giant stick.

I’m happy to report that a year later we’re still using the same system and it’s working out great. I even got to use some of last year’s compost in this year’s garden (which was very rewarding and satisfying).

Composting is so easy and not at all intimidating, and you don’t need a lot of space to make it happen. I put together a board on Hometalk that’s got all aspects of it covered:

  • kitchen counter composting (for those with no space at all!)
  • what to compost and what not to compost
  • how to build a compost bin out of trash barrels, pallets, hay bales, or lumber (there’s so many options!)
  • how to build a lasagna style composting flower bed (I did this method for my garden bed 2 years ago and it’s still working out awesome- my flowers came in great this year!!)
  • and lots more

Check it out here:

easy composting options for big and small spaces

And for quick reference, I love this printable list of what to compost (download it here) – we kept it on our fridge last year as we were learning and it was a big help:

what to compost - printable list
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