Compost is garden gold. You start with kitchen scraps and yard clippings, add time and a little turning, and you wind up with gorgeous, nutrient-rich stuff that will help your plants grow strong — all from things that might have otherwise wound up in our ever-growing landfills.

You don’t have to have a huge yard with multiple bins to compost in your own backyard or patio area. Using a few simple items you probably already have on hand, you can make your own compost bin with very little effort.

You’ll need:

  • 18 gallon plastic storage tub with lid (go for the more rubbery kind if you can, they are easier to work with)
  • Knife, drill or awl

You may also want:

  • A second lid (if you plan to keep it on a patio)
  • Decorative planter feet, bricks or small stones to elevate the bin slightly off the ground
  • Outdoor paint or colored duct tape to decorate the outside

How to:

 

1. Mark where you want the holes with a Sharpie marker–holes should be approximately 1/4″ across and 1 1/2 to 2″ apart

 

2. Punch, cut or drillĀ  holes in the top and bottom of the storage bin; make sure the bottom holes are at the lowest part of the bin so it can drain easily

3. Decorate if desired

4. Place the bin in it’s new home–ideally somewhere easy to access, otherwise you are less likely to use it

5. Start composting!

 

A few other considerations:

  • If you have a big yard and a lot of scraps and clippings, consider using a larger tub or even a trash can (plastic or metal will work)
  • If you have a lot of wildlife in your neighborhood, consider getting a tub with a locking lid to keep the animals out
  • The juice created by the compost can be very acidic, do not place the bin directly on a patio as it could mar the finish
  • If you live in an apartment, be sure to check their rules about what you can and cannot have on a patio or balcony, some do not allow storage bins in public sight