Homemade Compost Turner


Create your own inexpensive compost turner and enjoy the benefits and convenience of home composting. Home composting allows you to recycle household waste that would otherwise end up in landfills. Pack kitchen and yard waste, such as coffee filters, leaf and grass clippings, shredded brown paper bags, egg shells and old tree branches, into your homemade compost turner, then moisten and turn it occasionally to assist the decomposition process. Depending on the size of the bin or barrel used, the compost will be ready in six months to two years.

Step 1

Scrub the inside of the barrel thoroughly with soapy water and rinse. Scrub the lid as well. Allow to air dry.

Step 2

Measure and note the width and length of the plastic barrel. Select a shady spot in your backyard with well-drained soil, and lay a rectangular course of bricks over it in the barrel's dimensios. You will lay the barrel flat (on its side) inside the bricks.

Step 3

Drill ½- to ¾-inch holes over the body of the barrel, including the base and lid. Space the drainage holes up to 6 inches apart.

Step 4

Create a "door" in the body of the barrel through which a standard-sized shovel can easily enter. Lay the barrel on its side and locate the center horizontally. Measure and mark a 10- to 12-inch vertical line over the center. Extend the line horizontally to form a second identical line, and then up to form a 10- to 12-inch vertical line, parallel to the first. Cut over each line carefully with a sharp knife to create three flaps.

Step 5

Drill two ½-inch adjacent holes on each side of the second (horizontal) cut. Space each hole 3 inches from the cut, so you have one hole in the flap and the other in the body of the barrel. Make sure the holes are located in the center of the door. String leather cord through both holes and knot firmly. This prevents the door of the barrel from opening while you turn it.

Step 6

Remove the lid and fill the barrel with alternating 2-inch-thick layers of "brown" and "green" waste. Browns include egg shells, twigs and branches and shredded brown paper bags, while greens include fruit and vegetable peels, food scraps and leaf clippings. Moisten the contents with a garden hose and replace the lid.

Step 7

Lay the barrel in its brick rectangle so it rests on its side. Remove the front row of bricks and push the barrel so it rolls for up to five rotations. When done, push it back to its spot and replace the row of bricks. Turn the barrel two times a week.

Things You'll Need

  • Sponge
  • 30- to 55-gallon heavyweight plastic barrel
  • Soapy water
  • Measuring tape
  • Notepad
  • Bricks
  • Drill
  • Sharp knife
  • Leather cord
  • Household waste
  • Garden hose


  • USA Gardener: Compost, Manure & Fertilizer
  • Home Composting: How to Make Compost
Keywords: home composting, homemade compost turner, homemade compost

About this Author

Tanya Khan is a freelance author and consultant, having written hundreds of thousands of words for various online and print sources. She has an MBA in Marketing but her passion lies in giving her words wings.