A Beginner’s Guide to Composting
Your leftover food isn’t garbage, it’s the secret to a sustainable, vibrant garden
Dry leaves, leftover food, and yard waste are all you need to create nutrient-rich compost for your garden, containers, and even houseplants. Here are our top picks for easy composting solutions that will help you create a more sustainable home and garden.
These compact, tiered bins are ideal for small-space, small-scale composting indoors or out. Toss in scraps like coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable peels, and worms will churn out small batches of compost about every eight or so weeks. You can purchase one, like this modern Worm Farm Composter made from recycled plastics, which also makes compost tea, or DIY your own with this tutorial from the EPA for less than $20. Oh, and don’t forget the worms.
Raised and often mobile, these simple to use tumblers are ideal for small to medium sized yards. They come in single or dual barrels, are easy to churn and, because they’re sealed, won’t attract pests. Another bonus to sealed bins? They keep the compost hot and accelerate the process. Depending on the size of tumbler and volume of compost, it can take as little as two to three weeks to produce compost.
The Jora Composter is our favorite tumbler out there—it’s attractive, odor-free, and easy to use!
Wire Compost Bin
For spacious yards with large volumes of compost (think leaves, plant and yard clippings in addition to food scraps) wire compost bins are easy and affordable to build. You’ll need a space that’s a minimum of three feet in diameter in a shady area of your garden. You can build a compost bin with wire fencing, wire snips and something to fasten it with, such as wire ties or zip ties. You can also purchase a pre-built wire frame like this Single Bin Wire Composter. To retrieve compost from the bottom, you may need to lift the bin off of the ground then reshape.
Cedar Compost Bins
There are a couple of benefits to a rot-resistant cedar compost bin. In yards where you can’t conceal your compost bin, cedar boxes confine and disguise compost better than their wire counterparts. They are easy to build, but you can also purchase styles with covers and pop-up doors that make it easy harvest finished compost.
Solar Assist Composting
Solar assisted composting is very similar to a cedar compost bin, but it has one important feature: a translucent roof that lets sunlight in, which helps keep your compost at an ideal temperature, accelerating the composting process, and deter pests. This Solar Assist Composter comes highly recommended.
Vitamix, the company behind the much-loved blender, recently launched a countertop Food Cycler, which turns daily kitchen waste into garden-ready compost in 4-8 hours. Quiet and odorless, this is a fantastic solution, but it does come with a higher price tag ($350).