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Hi Everyone, 

The town of gilbert dropped off a "compost bin" for me... essentially a black can with no bottom. How do I start using it? Do I need to bury the bottom of the can or do I just set it on the ground? Do I need to drill a bunch of holes? HELP!


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Old municipal garbage cans being recycled are great composter bins.

Remove wheels/axle (if still present).  

May want to paint your outside container white to keep it cooler and prolong the life of the plastic walls from sun exposure.  Can be kept in a shaded area like next to the north side of a structure.

Remove lid and save, or try to get lid if already removed.  Holds in the moisture and keeps out the flies.  

Cut off the bottom of the container with a saw. 

Yes, you should buy a auger/router/spade/hole saw bit [I prefer the latter at 2.5" dia.] and drill large holes in it to aerate the compost.  Don't drill them so close to each other as to destroy the structural integrity of the container. 

Have an area 3 cans wide.  One area is for big non-woody plant material to dry down before shredding.  One is for the can.  The third is where the can goes when relocating for compost mixing.

You can either set the container on the ground, or invert the can and set it on the ground (my preferred method) as you easily lift the inverted container off the pile, relocate it next to the pile and then toss the compost back into the container (through sifters if small enough) with a pitchfork, gloved hands or shovel.  Drill the holes into the bottom half to two thirds of the can depending upon how you decide to orient it. 

Add water (may want it located near water spigot) and cover.  Repeat once compost starts to cool down and is remixed until compost is finished.

Don't get too carried away.  Remember "What are you going to do with all that compost?"  Replacing vegetable garden soil?  Filling vegetable garden beds?  Placing under the canopy of fruit/nut trees? Filling plant containers?  My neighbor has a huge pile of unused compost from years of composting. 


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