… food scraps in the box. Anyway.
If you looked at my back patio earlier today you’d have seen a dirty green storage tub sitting out there being useless and you’d have asked, “what’s that for?” I’d have told you, awkwardly, “oh, um… I’ve been planning to make a compost box out of that for, uh, like a year and a half. The entire time we’ve lived in this house, actually.”
This was one of the easiest DIY projects I’ve ever done. It literally took me less than ten minutes from start to finish, so I have no idea why I waited so long. It’s really so easy. You can go buy a plastic tub, but you probably have one lying around, right? That means this project will cost you $0.
What you’ll need:
Storage container (18 gallon size or larger) with a lid
Drill/screw driver?/something to poke holes
Shredded newspaper or sawdust
I used an 18 gallon storage container, just because it’s what I had on hand, and it’s probably on the small end of what you’ll want but you also need something small enough that you’re able to pick it up and give it a good shake every now and then just to mix everything well. It would even probably be awesome to use a big trashcan as long as it had a tight fitting lid. Whatever you have, there are really only two steps.
1. Drill a bunch of holes so air can get in. You need air to get decay. I drilled a hole about every three inches all across both the top and sides.
Yeah. That’s actually it. Put it outside in an area that will get some good light, but not in direct sun or it will get too hot. Now you’re ready to compost! Here’s a quick and dirty lesson on Composting 101:
What you CANNOT compost:
• lime (too acidic)
What you CAN compost:
• table scraps
• banana peels
• egg shells
• dryer lint
• plant clippings
• weeds (but realize that you’ll be spreading these seeds if you use the compost for fertilizer!)
Anything you add you should tear up and spread out so that it is able to break down more easily. The smaller your organic material, the faster the decay. You basically want a good mix of green (e.g. food) and brown (e.g. leaves), wet and dry. Keep a couple of newspapers around so that if things start looking too wet you can throw some shredded newspaper in, and if it starts looking too dry, spray some water.
I also made a tiny version to keep under the sink in my kitchen so I don’t have to trek outside every time I want to add something to my pile. I just used an old coffee container and for this, because I really don’t want anything seeping out into the cabinet under my sink, I only drilled holes in the top.
Make sure your holes for this are ridiculously random. I don’t know. You could even write some handy do’s and don’t’s on top! I did. My hope is that making it as foolproof as possible will help encourage the other members of my family to use it.
So far I’ve added used coffee grounds, part of an onion I left out that wilted, and a handful of chopped carrots Fletcher threw on the floor. Captain Planet should be dropping by any minute to pat me on the back. I can’t wait.