Composting is a truly democratic method of recycling, doable no matter where you live and what size your home is. Exactly how you compost will vary depending on your state's regulations, climate and amount of rainfall. Here are 9 creative home solutions from composters across the country (and one Canadian).
1. Handy kitchen scrap collection.
Think composting is too complicated? Flea Market Gardening in California has a simple tip. Keep a handy little odor-free container right on the kitchen counter -- try a Folgers can or vintage ice bucket with a tight-fitting lid. Then just add kitchen scraps as part of your routine cooking prep. Empty the contents every few days onto an outdoor compost heap (your own or your community's, if you are an apartment dweller).
2. Cheap and easy DIY compost bin.
Making a basic bin that keeps your backyard compost in and your dog out does not require a degree in rocket science ... or an astronomical budget. Heather, a Virginian who blogs at Spunky Real Deal, explains that you can just turn an old laundry basket upside down. After chalk painting it a cheerful color, cut a flap in the top (formerly the base) for "loading" and a hole near the bottom so you can easily grab a handful of freshly composted, rich soil.
3. Another easy-to-make bin - this one rolls!
Healthy Roots, Happy Soul from Florida tells how to build a very practical compost bin in less than 10 minutes: take a plastic garbage can and drill it with plenty of holes to let air in. (This helps break down your raw materials faster.) Once you've started composting stir the mix regularly with a shovel or a sturdy tree branch for even better aeration, as well as moisture distribution and odor control. Or fasten the can closed with a bungee cord and vigorously roll it around your yard.
4. A pallet wood compost bin.
Pallets are a readily available source of free wood. (Make sure they're up for grabs before taking!) Up in Canada, Heather of New House New Home details her technique of using five pallets to construct a composting center with two sides. One is for kitchen and yard waste in the process of becoming usable compost and the other for storing your finished product.
5. Hay bale compost pile.
Lee of Lady Lee's Home was determined to use hay as a base for her North Carolina organic vegetable farm's extra-large compost piles. She recommends stacking the bales to form breathable walls, which will last for 2 to 3 years before they decompose and become compost themselves, and filling with more hay and other organic material.
6. Compost and garden in the same spot.
If you'd like to avoid schlepping your finished compost to your garden site, try lasagna composting. Green Cycler, from Colorado, offers a quick tutorial in this popular composting system. Build up layers of different types of organic matter and let the whole sit for six months without touching it. At the end of this time, you can plant directly in the resulting lush, fertile garden site.
7. Composting with the help of worms.
For a really fast, space saving compost project, give vermicomposting a go. Barb of Our Fairfield Home and Garden in Delaware introduces the steps to set up a worm bin for efficient composting indoors or out. All you need to do to get started is drill holes in a plastic storage tub, add old newspaper and peat moss and toss in your earthworms.
8. Winter composting.
You're not likely to be actively gardening in winter, especially if you live in a northern state. But you can continue to compost throughout the dormant season with the help of Pennsylvanian Susan at Learning and Yearning. Two of her tips: insulate your pile with snow or bales of hay, and don't turn it until spring.
9. A silo as super-sized compost bin.
When you compost a lot and really love the look of traditional farmstead silos, you might want to try this idea from Ohio gardening pro Old World Garden Farms. Use -- or build -- a silo for extra-spacious compost storage.
Discover more creative solutions in the Hometalk composting section.