How to Build a Garden Composter


Composting is easier than many people think, and is beneficial to your household, garden and the environment. Compost makes plants, fruits and vegetables grow strong and extra juicy, with no additives. All you need is a small area in your garden for a compost pile, then add the proper items to it to start the composting process.

Step 1

Drill 1/4-inch holes all over the bucket. You need to drill just enough so that water and air can circulate consistently and easily.

Step 2

Add as many organic materials to the composter as possible, whenever you can. These materials need to be high in carbon and nitrogen, such as fruit and vegetable skins or clippings, coffee grounds or tea, old lettuce, apple cores, torn-up paper or cardboard, coffee filters and old nuts. Also add mineral-rich materials like rock phosphate or greensand. Add things that provide potash like crushed eggshells, bone meal or wood ashes. This helps raise the pH of the compost. The more variety of materials in your compost, the greater your certainty of creating a nutritionally balanced product.

Step 3

Put the lid back on top of the bucket securely after you add more organic materials each time. It is important to keep it sealed most of the time. Keep your garden composter in the garden where it will get lots of full sun, since heat helps speed up the composting process.

Step 4

Aerate your garden composter every day or two. Do this by rolling or moving it around to mix up the materials and sift them. You want to make sure the composter's materials get enough air circulation through the drill holes.

Step 5

Make sure your garden composter gets sufficient water so that it is moist all the time. Water your bucket if your region doesn't get much rain, since moisture speeds up the composting. Find out if your composter is moist enough by grabbing a handful and squeezing it. If no water drips out, add a couple cups down the side of the container.

Step 6

Add a thin layer of dirt over the compost to bring some needed microorganisms that will aid in the breakdown. Add a layer of straw over this to help prevent bad odors.

Things You'll Need

  • 5- to 10-gallon bucket
  • Drill with drill bit
  • Composting materials
  • Water
  • Soil
  • Straw


  • Journey to Forever: Composting Tips
  • Ecollo: DIY Compost Bucket
  • Backyard Gardener: Garden Composting
Keywords: composting tips, building a compost bucket, garden composter

About this Author

Lauren Wise is a journalism major from Arizona State University with over forty published magazine and media articles and over 400 Web site articles. Wise owns Midnight Publishing with over eight years experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food and wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in magazines including Runway, A2Z, Scottsdale Luxury Living and True West.