Compost is the gardener’s gold, and if you want to mine this gold yourself, you should definitely build yourself a compost. 😉
Compost increases the humus content of your soil, so you give back what the vegetable plants are gradually taking away. As a result, your plants grow better, you increase the water storage capacity of the soil and feed the hard-working soil creatures.
In this article I will introduce you to various composter models for your garden and show you how you can build your own compost. Even if you don’t have a large garden, you can build compost for the balcony or even for the apartment!
If you’ve been following my blog for a long time, you know that nothing works here without compost! I plant all my beds with a thick layer of compost, which means that I actually have a (virtually) weed-free garden .
My plants are healthy and robust and I have far fewer weed problems. It is also super practical if you can simply dispose of all your organic waste in the garden!
Build compost yourself or buy it ready?
Numerous compost models are available for purchase on the market. There are composters made of wood or metal, but also the quick composters or thermal composters made of plastic. With a bit of manual dexterity, you can also build your own compost very easily and inexpensively. I show you how to build a simple compost out of wood in the article below.
Composter models for the garden
Free rental composting aka compost heap
With free composting of rents, the “piles” are piled up without restriction, which of course makes the construction of a compost bin superfluous.
The advantage is that the rents are accessible from all sides. With this form of composting, you have to pay a little more attention that the composting place does not look untidy, which is precisely why the free composting rents are often best cared for. 😉
The free rents are well suited for a large garden, where a lot of organic material arises.
Composting in wood, stone and metal composter
With this form of composting, the plant residues are layered in a composter (eg wooden or wire container). When the bin is full, the compost is transferred to a second bin.
For this system, you should build at least two compost bins. So you have enough space to collect and for your compost rents. How many composters you want to build will of course also depend on the size of your garden. Your compost bin looks organized and tidy through the containers. 😉
Quick composter / thermal composter
The quick composter or thermal composter usually consist of plastic and have an insulating jacket. The sustained heat accelerates the composting processes and the compost ripens faster.
The quick composters are very space-saving and go well with a small garden. For a large garden, you can also simply buy several quick composters and place them side by side, so that you have several rotten at the same time;)
Composter for balcony and apartment
If you don’t have a large garden, you can still build compost on the balcony or in your apartment. In principle, a small thermal composter is also suitable for the balcony, but you should regularly “inoculate” it with fresh soil. The compost systems on the balcony or in the apartment are closed, which means that they have no contact with the ground and the important soil organisms, such as earthworms, cannot migrate from below.
With a worm box, you make targeted use of the work of the hardworking compost worms ( Eisenia foetida ). Several hundred worms live in the worm box, which, together with the microorganisms, transform your kitchen waste into valuable worm humus. This is a great fertilizer for your container plants or your plants in the garden.
Depending on the worm population, it takes about 8 weeks before you can remove worm humus for the first time. You can put the worm box in a place (frost-free in winter) on the balcony, in the basement or in the apartment.
Another great way to turn organic waste into valuable fertilizer is the Bokashi bucket. The special feature of this system is that the organic waste is fermented with the help of lactic acid using effective microorganisms (EM).
The fermentation does not produce any unpleasant smells, so that the airtight Bokashi bucket can also stand in the kitchen. The content smells a bit like sauerkraut after fermentation;)
During the fermentation process, the leachate, the so-called Bokashi tea, can be removed regularly. This is a super liquid fertilizer that can be added to the irrigation water.
The finished bokashi is mixed with soil and can either be added directly to the bed or the bucket or simply stored temporarily in a tub.
Wood, metal or stone? The right materials for your composter
I prefer to build my compost bins in the garden from natural materials. A very quickly and easily built composter simply consists of several wooden pallets that are screwed together.
In general, wood is a popular building material for compost. However, it has the disadvantage that it rots after a while. The compost bin becomes more durable if you use stones or metal to build.
What a good composter should look like
If you want to build a really good composter, there are a few things you should definitely consider. For example, it is very important that your compost bin is open at the bottom. This is the only way the animals can move from the soil into your compost.
In addition, your composter should be permeable to air on at least three sides, because oxygen must be able to reach the organic material for the composting process, otherwise the material will start to rot.
The best location for your compost
If you want to build yourself a compost, you should also consider the location. I think it is very important that my compost is not too far from the house, otherwise I have to walk all the way through the garden if I want to take my biowaste away.
Your compost should also not be in the blazing sun, otherwise it will dry out too quickly and the composting processes will stagnate. A half-shaded, wind-protected place on fertile ground is ideal. Lined with bushes or hedges, the composting area becomes the heart of your garden. (:
How to build your own compost: The instructions
A simple and natural compost bin can be built well from wood. It is best not to use spruce wood, even if it is very cheap, but rather the somewhat more durable larch wood.
But you can also very well use wooden scraps or pallets and design your composter individually. 😉
You should have the following materials ready for the construction of your wooden composter:
Folding rule, wood saw, pliers, screws, nails, staples, wood or pallets, hammer, cordless drill, spirit level
If you have a lot of mice in your garden, it can be worthwhile to bring a wire mesh to your composter. In this case, you should get wire mesh and staples or a stapler.
In the following video you can get some inspiration for building your own composter:
Create weed-free compost beds
If you make your own compost, use it sensibly in your garden: for example, to plant new beds. I have already told you: by laying my beds with compost, I have almost no weeds in the garden.
Feel free to take a look at my compost bed mini course, I will show you exactly how it works: