How I built a (free) compost bin in about 5 minutes (pt. 2)

little girl throwing apple into compost bin
The compost bin in action

Tired of all the crap life throws at you? Then compost it!

The Art of Zen Composting

Apparently a person can make composting as easy or as complicated as s/he wants. More than just tossing foodstuffs into my free 5-minute compost bin there are a few points worth knowing to make effective soil in the shortest time possible:

  • A ratio of two parts brown to one part green materials. For simplicity sake, brown is the carbon and green is the nitrogen. This isn’t an exclusive rule but it’s good enough. Check out the chart below for carbon and nitrogen composting inspiration (from
  • note: if you are the overthinking perfectionist type you can dive into the art & science of composting over at the Planet Natural Research Center. And they got some wicked composing accessories too.

A chart of what and what not to compost

  • Chop and shred materials for quicker breakdown
  • Sticks on the bottom for airflow. Mix up once or twice a week (this part is GUARANTEED to give you the farmer feels)
  • Cover for best results (see below)

On the other hand, maybe you don’t care about rushing the process. Maybe you want to add a few scraps here and there. And why not? I try and have fun with it. For example, when I walk my pooch I try and grab a bag of dried pine needles or leaves 1-2x per week (carbon collection multitasking).

plastic bag of pine needles
Gathering carbon la la la

Composting 101: A Great American Tragedy

I’ve been inconsistently and haphazardly composing for maybe six weeks now. As of late my pile has been bone dry (see below). This was odd to me since I throw in way more fruit and veggie scraps than dry browns, but I didn’t give it much thought until my dog Buzz peed on the compost bin for the 2nd day in a row, completely undeterred by my threats and curses and withering stink eye.

compost bin and pitchfork
So dry. And far from an optimal composting environment : (

Then it hit me. Critters of the night are hellbent on sabotaging me. No sooner did my inner-Sherlock deduce this then I found a skunk going “hog wild” in my bin the very next evening.

skunk eating a strawberry
A reenactment of the incident in question

So there you have it. All manner of night mammals have been feastingon my pile, which is ok (still better than throwing it away, right?). But even so, I want soil, so I am throwing a tarp over it tomorrow as to reap the “soils” of my efforts. Plus I read that heat speeds up the breakdown process so a clear painting tarp should give it a pretty nice greenhouse effect.

That’s it for now. I hope you’re inspired to eat more fruits and veggies. And to compost them, of course.

One comment

  1. I love your ideas on composting!!! Really love the pictures too. What great garden soil (Free too!) I’ll have when I start. What I thought after reading about the night bandits was a lid of some sort to go on the bin (Plywood, an old trash can lid?? comes to mind maybe…or a guard dog??? Just some random thoughts. I hope the clear plastic helps speed things up ( I’ll keep checking)


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