DIY: How to Make a One-Step Compost Bin

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/27/15 11:14 AM

Topics: Home Ownership

If you have a green thumb, you're likely aware of the endless benefits of compost. Mulching with compost stabilizes pH levels in the soil, slowly releases nutrients over time, makes soil easier to work with, and make soil less likely to erode. If you don't have much space or are wanting to start composting on a small scale, this DIY compost bin is about as simple as you can get.


Image courtesy of winnond at


  • 18-gallon (or larger) storage bin with lid
  • Drill


Prepare the bin by drilling holes (drill bit size doesn't matter) approximately one to two inches apart on all sides, bottom, and lid of the storage bin.
Place the bin in a convenient area. Because this storage bin is small, it has the versatility to fit just about anywhere. If you're using the compost for your vegetable garden, place it somewhere you can easily access it.
Fill the bin with anything you would put in a normal compost pile, like leaves, weeds, fruit and vegetable peels, egg shells, coffee grounds, and grass clippings. Food remnants should be chopped fairly small for faster decomposition.
Aerate the bin every couple of days by giving it a light shake. If you notice the bin is retaining a large amount of moisture or has a rancid smell, add some shredded leaves, newspaper or sawdust to restore a healthy moisture level. If the contents are fairly dry, add moisture-rich items like fruits and veggie remnants or lightly spray it with water.
Use your compost after running it through a compost sifter, to separate large pieces that need longer to break down. Return those large pieces to the bin.

Tip: If you drill larger holes in the storage bin, use wire mesh to cover the holes on the inside of the bin. This will keep pests and rodents from infiltrating the bin.

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