How to Turn a Garbage Can Into a Composting Bin (Video)
Compost is vital for the garden. It provides nutrients, gives good texture, fixes poor soil, retains water, buffers pH, and provides a home for billions and trillions of beneficial microbes and Fungi. Compost is a bit of an art, and it is certainly not something you can rush. The best soils on earth have taken hundreds of thousands of years to be what they are today, so we must keep that in mind when we worry about five or six months to make a great compost. In this guide we are going to touch on every aspect of compost from what is compost, types of compost, how to make it, and lastly benefits of compost in the garden.
What is Compost? – Compost is any organic matter that is broken down into its simplest form. Finished compost is called humus (and no that is not what you eat, that is called hummus) pronounced HEW-MUS. It is black or dark brown, and almost all the original inputs are unidentifiable. The pH of compost is neutral or right around 7.0 making it a perfect buffer for acidic or alkaline soils.
What You’ll Need:
A large plastic garbage bin with a lid
A 1/4 inch drill bit
2 bungee cords
What’s Great for Composting:
Grass clippings (must be dry!)
Vegetable peels (cucumber, eggplant, squash/pumpkin, carrot)
Sawdust (from untreated wood only, and sparingly)
Corn cobs, husks, and silk (chopped to help them break down)
Fruit peels and scraps, (apple, pear), but I don’t add citrus peels to mine. Some sources say you can (except for limes), but I tend to err on the side of caution and leave them out.
Shredded black and white newspaper
Leftover stems and unused leaves of culinary or medicinal herbs
Crushed nut shells, and any ground nuts left over from making milk (ground almonds, hazelnuts, etc.) Whatever isn’t baked with afterwards can be added to the pile.
Droppings from pet birds (herbivore poop is okay too, so if you have a pet rabbit or goat, toss the poopings in!)
Eggshells (have to be crushed before adding to the pile, as they break down slowly)
Wood ash from the fireplace (used very sparingly, and mostly for pest control: most of my wood ash goes onto acidic areas in my garden to amend the pH levels there).
What You Should NOT Compost:
Used cat litter
Wet grass clippings
Any animal manure other than herbivore poop (including human, so no baby diapers in here either)
Animal products (meat, bones, grease/fat/suet, skin, egg yolks/albumen, fish, etc.)
Diseased plants (you don’t want to transfer bacteria or fungus into your healthy, happy compost)
Rice, raw or cooked
Bread or baked goods (mostly because you don’t want to attract rats, racoons, or other animals)