Image by herb007 from Pixabay
Gardening & Sustainability

Why and How I Started Backyard Composting

Thanks to COVID and quarantine my days and weeks and months have somewhat started to blend, so I can’t, off the top of my head, tell you when I started composting, it was sometime between March and May, but I can tell you how and why.

The idea of composting in my backyard started small and slow, and then out of nowhere blew itself up into existence.

Quarantine has been an interesting time for me. I have done a lot of self-reflecting and work on myself. I am starting to realize the things I need, want, and value and on the opposite of that, the things I don’t like, care about and have wasted time on. At the top of all this is taking care of the planet, the animals that live here, and living a more sustainable life. It has become increasingly important to me that I take steps to live more green. And, that is where my backyard compost bin comes in.

For a while now, I would see things online or on TV about composting. I like watching home renovations and house buying shows and every once in a while I would see them in passing point out backyard composting bins.

I started thinking about the compostable waste we throw out and started, just casually, looking into what sort of backyard composting options there were and I was shocked. I didn’t realize how many different types of compost options there were from countertop and apartment sized options, to pre-made systems you can put in your backyard to the many different DIY options.

One day I decided to casually mention the things I’d been reading about to the husband and he jumped all over the idea. I guess he had already been thinking about it for a while and was super excited that I was interested in pursuing it. So, we ran next door and asked our landlord aka my sister-in-law if we could build a compost bin. I’m not 100% certain she knew what we were talking about, but at this point, we had already taken over most of her yard with our plants and had established a new lawn for her, so she gave us the go ahead.

Right away we started watching YouTube videos and reading online articles trying to figure out what we wanted to do. Ultimately we decided, since our goal was to be more eco-conscious, that a plastic pre-made bin was not the route for us. Instead, we took inspiration from the different bins we saw online and decided to build our own.

Home Depot cart filled with DIY items
Grabbing our supplies from Home Depot, along with a few things for the garden

We really didn’t follow any specific tutorial and for the most part kind of winged the whole thing. We measured out the size of the space we had to work with and then went about building ourselves a bottomless bin made out of 2x1s, plywood and chicken wire.

Since this was for composting we didn’t see any reason to keep it off the ground, which is why we left it bottomless. We built the frame of our bin out of the 2x1s and then wrapped chicken wire around three of the four sides to hold in our pile. On the backside of the bin, we added a piece of plywood to keep the compost pile off of our back neighbor’s fence.

We made the frame of our bin’s lid out of the 2x1s and then covered that with plywood. To make life a little easier for us, we attached it with a hinge to make opening it a lot easier.

We were able for the most part, with our limited tools and woodworking skills, to put this thing together in an afternoon. It’s not the prettiest thing, but it does its job.

Now, I’m no expert on composting, yet, but since we built the bin we now have a way to dispose and eventually reuse all of our fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, tea bags, cardboard, paper, lawn clippings, and any of our garden trimmings. We keep a sealed bin in our house to collect all our scraps so I don’t have to make trips out every time I have something that can go in the bin. Depending on how much or what I’m cooking, I usually empty this every couple of days. So far I’ve had no issues with any sort of bugs, flies, or smells in the house. Yay!

Like I said, I’m not an expert and I still have a lot to learn, but I will include a few links to some of the videos I watched and articles I read in case you are interested. And, if you compost and you have any tips for me, please do share. I appreciate any help I can get!

Cover Image by herb007 from Pixabay


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *