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How to Make Compost Without a Bin

By Suzie Faloon ; Updated September 21, 2017

Composting is a valuable craft for you to use to reduce your waste, save money on garbage bags, recycle biodegradable items and add rich soil to your garden or flower beds. Save compostable kitchen materials in a securely covered plastic or ceramic bucket that you can dump out a few times a week. A recycled ice cream container with a handle is ideal for storing and carrying food materials from the house to your pile. You can reduce paper, cardboard, stove or fireplace ashes, sawdust, coffee filters, egg and nut shells by composting them. Shredded materials will speed the breakdown process that turns refuse to soil.

Choose an area to make your compost heap that is shady during the day and close to a source of water. Position it in a way that it is not seen by your neighbors. Inquire at your municipal office if you live within the town or city limits to learn if a free-standing compost pile is allowed.

Cut a square out of the sod with the blade of the spade or a sharp knife. Cut a square at least 3 by 3 feet and no greater than 5 by 5 feet. Remove the sod.

Place a layer of small twigs that are less than 1/2 inch in diameter on the ground in the compost square. This is your bottom layer of brown material, or carbon.

Place 3 to 6 inches of chopped up fruit and vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, tea bags, meatless meal leftovers, grass clippings, hay, straw and garden debris on the twig pile for your next layer. Finely chop corn cobs and banana peels if you are adding them as they take a lot longer to break down. This is a green nitrogen layer of compostable material.

Layer 6 inches of leaves, (another brown component) on top of the kitchen and green compostables. Spray water over the leaves if they are dry.

Add another layer of green materials and top them with a final 6-to-8-inch layer of brown material that encases the pile. Let this mound sit for a few days allowing it to begin to heat up. One green portion to 3 brown portions is a good balance for compost when combined with water and oxygen.

Water the heap often enough to keep it moist but not soggy.

Aerate your compost heap by lifting and turning the materials with a pitchfork once a week. This adds oxygen to the pile, which speeds the process of breaking down the material. You can use an aeration tool that is specifically forged for composting, but it is not necessary. Your compost should be ready in one to three months. Let it rest for two or three weeks before using it.


Things You Will Need

  • Garden spade
  • Pitchfork


  • Set up a rain barrel to catch water for your compost pile if the water source location is inconvenient for easy access.
  • If odor is emanating from the pile, you need to turn it more often. If it is too wet, add more dry brown matter.


  • Do not add meats, fat, pet manure or bones to the no bin compost pile. This will attract animals and pests that you will not want in your yard. Pet manure can harbor pests, harmful viruses and parasites that are harmful to humans.

About the Author


Suzie Faloon is a freelance writer who has written online content for various websites. As a professional crafter and floral designer, Faloon owned a florist business for nearly 25 years. She completed the Institute of Children's Literature course in 1988.