Build Your Own Composter Build Your Own Composter

Want to do your part in making the world a little bit better and save yourself some money as well? How about turning yard waste and kitchen scraps into organic fertilizer. You’ll be saving space in nearby landfills and saving yourself the cost of buying fertilizer for your plants. You can buy a composter at garden centers as well as home and hardware stores, but it’s certainly not difficult to make your own. Here’s how you can make your backyard composter from some 2 x 4’s and wire mesh fencing.

Things you’ll need
2 x 4’s
Wire mesh fencing
Hammer and nails
Staples or u shaped nails

  • Start by figuring out where you’re going to place your composter. Ideally you want to pick a spot that gets a fair amount of sun, is out of site from your house and away from where kids play.
  • Next, build a 4 foot cube from your 2 x 4’s, then cut more 2 x 4’s into 4 foot pieces and attach them all around the outside of the cube. You want to leave a gap about ½” between each board to allow for air circulation.
  • Now, make a lid of 2 x 4’s to go on top.
  • You could use lighter and less expensive 1 x 3’s for the covering, but 2 x 4’s are best for the frame itself, since you want it to be strong and sturdy.
  • Fasten the wire mesh fencing with staples or U shaped nails all around the outside of your cube as well as onto your lid frame.
  • Attach the lid to your cube frame with hinges so it will be easy to open but won’t get in your way.
  • Set you new composter directly on the ground, there’s no need to put it on blocks or cement pavers. By putting it on the ground, worms will be able to get right into the bottom of the compost pile and help the composting process.
  • That’s it, you’re ready to start composting

Some hints for composting at home

  • Grass clippings, kitchen scraps (vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, apple cores, eggshells) can all be put in to your composter.
  • Never put meat scraps, dairy products or fatty foods (like salad dressing) into your composter. Although they will break down eventually, they’ll smell bad and attract small animals to your yard.
  • If you have lots of grass clippings, try to mix them with some other drier products (even shredded newspaper will do). Grass contains a lot of moisture and will mat down into a lump that can smell bad as it breaks down.
  • Composting works best when the material in the composter is made up of a mixture of ‘greens’ (i.e. kitchen scraps, grass clippings) and ‘browns’ (dried leaves, wood chips, saw dust, shredded newspaper).
  • Chopping or cutting the raw materials into small pieces helps speed the composting process.

Use a garden fork, a rake or a shovel to stir and turn over your compost pile at least once a week (preferably every 2 to 3 days). In as little as four to six weeks, you’ll start to see the results of your own personal recycling project – some rich dark compost.

Murray Anderson is an experienced freelance writer. His work has covered a wide range of topics, but he specializes in home maintenance and how to have. He has more than 500 articles published on the web, as well as print magazines and newspapers in both the United States and Canada.

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