If you have a garden, you know it’s important to add nutrients back into the soil. One way to do this is to add compost to your garden.
There are a few options for how to get compost, you can buy it, get it from someone you know, or make your own.
Making your own compost it fairly easy, you just need to collect your food scraps (produce only, no meat or dairy) and put it somewhere to break down.
Collecting the scraps is easy, the harder part is the spot to put it.
There are composters that you can buy, or you can make your own.
Read on to learn about 20 ideas to make your own composter.
Easy and Cheap Compost Bins
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These bins are both really easy to make and fairly cheap.
Many can be made with only a $5 to $10 investment.
How to Make an Easy DIY Compost Bin
This compost bin is both cheap and easy to make. All it takes is a storage tub and a drill. I made three of these last year and though they worked, I had some issues with them.
It’s recommended to start with some dirt in the bin to help get the compost going and I did that. The problem is I used the soil I have in my yard which is heavy, clay soil.
This made the tub extremely hard to turn. Whenever I tried turning it the lid would pop off.
And as the tubs filled up they just got too heavy for me to move.
Hubby tried mixing it with a garden fork, but that ended up cracking the tub.
I think this method would work better if I had used a light potting soil for my dirt base instead of the clay soil I have.
Also, I would recommend using bungee cords or something else to keep the lid attached when trying to turn the bin.
DIY: How to Make Your Own Compost Bin for Under $5!!
This compost bin is the same as above though the instructions may be slightly different.
How to Make Your Own Compost Bin
This compost bin is similar to the above two, but it uses a larger tub.
How to Make Your Own Composter for Cheap
This composter uses a 5-gallon bucket instead of a tub. If you have a cat, like I do, a large kitty litter bucket would work just as well. I recommend making sure you get all of the kitty litter rinsed out first, but otherwise it should work just fine. If you can do that you can make this composter for free.
DIY Compost Bin With 5 Gallon Bucket
This compost bin also uses a 5-gallon bucket for the compost bin but drills the holes slightly differently than the one above.
Compost Bin DIY: Quick Pallet Project
If you have access to pallets, this composter can be made fairly inexpensively. The only disadvantage to this one, compared to the above, is that you can’t move it around once you have started to fill it.
Compost tumblers are compost bins that allow you to easily turn the compost.
Many are set up so you just spin the bin. Others you have to push around the yard.
This compost tumbler uses a large plastic barrel to place your compostable materials and a board with wheels. This keeps the barrel close to the ground for easier filling of yard compost materials.
DIY Spinning Composter
This spinning composter uses a large plastic barrel that is kept off the ground by a wood stand. You can push the barrel back and forth or turn it all the way over. Instructions for the barrel and stand are included.
Make a Tumbler Compost Bin
This tumbling compost bin uses 2 large, 20 gallon, buckets and a couple of sawhorses. The directions for putting the buckets together and making the bin are clear and easy to follow. There is little explanation on how to get the buckets onto the sawhorses, so some trial and error may be needed for this part.
Cheap DIY Compost Tumbler
If you want to try a compost tumbler but don’t want to invest a lot of money right away, this one may be right for you. All it takes is a large plastic garbage can, some bungee cords, and a little time. It’s easy to make and gives you a chance to see if you want to turn it as frequently as needed.
How to Make a Compost Tumbler for Cheap!
This one is very similar to the above compost tumbler with one main difference. This one recommends placing it on bricks instead of just leaving it stand on the ground. There is a picture towards the bottom of the post that shows how they store this one.
Homemade Compost Tumbler Step-by-Step Instructions
This is another compost tumbler from a garbage can. This one has a specific type of plastic garbage can that is recommended whereas the other two just say a plastic garbage can.
Double-Decker Drum Composter
The Double-Decker Drum Composter takes the drum composter to the next level. If you have a lot of compostable materials and need more than one composter, stacking them may be right for you.
This guy gives directions on how to make two drum composters stacked above each other. It looks cool and saves space by only needing the space of one composter.
Compost Tumbler – A Honey Do Tutorial
The directions for this tumbler are limited, though it is very similar to the first compost tumbler in this section.
The main difference is the one in the picture uses a steel drum instead of a plastic drum.
I would just make sure the steel drum wasn’t used for anything toxic before using it for compost.
DIY Compost Barrel Tumbler
The barrel part of this compost tumbler is similar to several of the ones above, but the stand is quite a bit different.
This one is lifted off the ground and the stand is built to allow a wheelbarrow below the compost tumbler for easy emptying.
I love how it looks and how it makes it easy to move the compost once it is ready to use.
Make Your Own Compost Tumbler
This compost tumbler also uses a steel drum and keeps it up in the air high enough to place a wheelbarrow beneath it.
The only thing I don’t like is that it doesn’t explain how to build the stand, just how to do the tumbler.
Compost Bins Out of Wood
Compost bins can also be made out of wood. Some use wood and chicken wire or hardware cloth.
These may be a better choice than some of the previous ones if you expect to have a large quantity of compostable material.
How to Build the Ultimate Compost Bin
The ultimate compost bin would be a great fit for someone that has a large amount of compost and a decent amount of space. It is also set up as a three-bin system for those that prefer that type of method.
How to Build a Compost Bin
I love This Old House and they are the ones behind this wood compost bin. The directions look easy to follow as long as you are handy with a saw.
The finished product looks nice and is of a decent size for home composting.
How to Build a Compost Bin from Pallets
If you have access to pallets for free, or cheap, this compost bin is an inexpensive option for a wooden compost bin.
There isn’t much to this bin, just 4 pallets and some hardware, so even someone without much wood working experience should be able to make it.
Due to the size of the pallets, it would be best to have a couple people to put it together.
Compost Bin – Low Cost, Easy, and Modular
This compost bin looks similar to a picket fence once it is completed. It looks to be a good size for home composting and somewhat easy to make.
Though you may want to know what you are doing with a saw before attempting.
These bins look nice but there are no directions for making them.
It looks similar to the Ultimate Compost Bin above but only a single bin instead of a three-bin system.
Also, these do not have covers.
Purchase a bin
For those that don’t want to make a bin, purchasing one works just as well.
I purchased one similar to the one below. It allows you to put the fresh compost materials in one side and allow the other side to break down.
The directions say it can produce compost in as little as a few weeks. Though I haven’t gotten any usable compost yet.
But some of that could be the fact that my compost is not at the right mixture of materials.
You can buy it on Amazon here.
Whichever compost bin you choose, DIY or purchased, will produce usable compost within a few weeks to months.
The length of time depends a lot on what you put in, how often it gets mixed, and how hot it is outside.
Since I live in ND I can only produce compost for about half the year. The rest of the year I can add stuff to the compost bin, but it will just freeze.
That is assuming I can get to the bin and get it open. Last year it froze shut and then the snow got too deep to get to the bin.
If this happens to you, you can just place a large bucket in the garage and collect it there until spring.
I hope you found a compost bin idea that you like so you can get started composting at home too.