Homemade Composter

Overview

While it's easy enough to throw out kitchen scraps and yard clippings from your home and never think about them again, a more natural and organic approach for many gardeners is to compost them. You can buy composters from a number of manufacturers, and they're made of a variety of materials--but they can be expensive. You can make your own composter for just a few dollars and turn out the same quality of rich compost.

Step 1

Select an area around your home where you want to set your composter. A spot which receives only partial shade is preferable, but select a site close enough to your home to make adding compost easy, even during the winter. Measure out a location 3 feet by 3 feet and rake the ground clear of any sticks or leaves.

Step 2

Plant a garden stake at each corner of your 3-by-3-foot area and use a rubber mallet to anchor each stake 1 foot into the ground. Place a stake halfway between the corner stakes on three sides, leaving what will be the front wall of the composter open. You should have two stakes left.

Step 3

Wrap the mesh fencing around the garden stakes by starting on one front corner and going around the back of the composter until you reach to the other front corner, this should leave a 3-foot-long portion of fencing still sticking out. Use zip ties to secure the fencing to the garden stakes with three or more zip ties, spaced out, on each stake.

Step 4

Cut the remaining two garden stakes to measure 3 1/2 feet. Set these shorter stakes along the front of the composter. One stake should be up against the corner where you started the fencing and the other halfway between the front corners. Use the mallet to set these stakes only 5 inches in the ground.

Step 5

Wrap the last portion of fencing over the front stakes and secure with zip ties. At the corner, where the fencing starts and stops, you should have two stakes right next to one another. Use tie wire to hold the two stakes together to close the composter at the top, bottom, and halfway up the height of the stakes.

Step 6

Add to the composter, as desired, with compostable materials and place the plywood square over the composter when it is not in use, to keep critters away. When it is time to turn the material in the composter or remove it, open the tie wire and lift the two shorter front posts from the ground to open the composter.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Garden rake
  • Nine 2-inch-thick garden stakes, 4 feet long
  • Rubber mallet
  • Light welded mesh fencing with a 1-inch grid, 12 by 3 feet
  • Zip ties
  • Handsaw
  • Three pieces of 14-gauge tie wire, 1 foot long each
  • Plywood ¼-inch thick, cut 40 inches square

References

  • "The Rodale Guide to Composting"; Jerry Minnich and Marjorie Hunt; 1979
  • "New Complete Guide to Landscaping"; Better Homes and Gardens; 2002
Keywords: homemade composter, making a composter, making homemade composters, DIY composter

About this Author

Margaret Telsch-Williams is a freelance, fiction, and poetry writer from the Blue Ridge mountains. When not writing articles for Demand Studios, she works for WidescreenWarrior.com as a contributor and podcast co-host.