Composting turns yard trimmings and food scraps into a nutrient-rich soil amendment right in your backyard.
Compost piles require only a minimal amount of maintenance. Organic compost:
- loosens soil for better root penetration
- improves soil capacity to hold water
- and adds essential nutrients to soil.
Download "A Simple Guide to Backyard Composting" for instructions on backyard composting.
For helpful composting tips, seasonal reminders, and fun stories about composting in Hamilton County, check out the our composting blog Confessions of a Composter.
Building or Purchasing a Compost Bin
A compost bin is not required; however, a bin holds in moisture and heat, speeding up the decomposition process (and it looks more attractive in the yard). Building your own bin is easy and inexpensive.
All you need is a length of woven galvanized wire (14-gauge wire) or snow fence.
To determine the length needed, multiply the diameter of the bin desired by 3.2. The ideal diameter is three to five feet. Fasten the ends of the woven wire with four small chain snaps or plastic zip ties to make a circle.
Snow Fence Bin
To build this bin, you need the appropriate length of prefabricated fencing. Fasten 2 x 4s as corner posts to the bottom to form a square.
Block or Brick Bin
Compost bins can be made with bricks, cement, or blocks. Lay the blocks without mortar, leaving spaces between each block to allow aeration. Stack them to form three sides of a square container.
A wooden bin can be constructed with a removable front or side so materials can be easily turned. Old wood pallets can also be used for construction.
A wood and wire three-bin turning unit can be used to compost large amounts of yard, garden, and kitchen wastes in a short time. Although relatively expensive to build, it is sturdy, attractive, and durable. Construction requires basic carpentry skills and tools. Click here for building directions.
A lattice bin can be constructed with either treated wood lattice or plastic lattice. Wood is a little less expensive. For best results use “privacy lattice” which has smaller holes. Click here for building directions.
For fine, aesthetically pleasing compost, the material can be sifted through a screen. Fine, consistent compost is desirable when applying as mulch, topdressing for the lawn, or mixing with potting soil. The coarse material that does not pass through a screen is more appropriate for garden applications or general use as a soil amendment. Click here for building directions.
Compost bins can be purchased seasonally at the following local stores*:
Park + Vine
1202 Main Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202
3747 Eastern Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45226
The Home Depot
Integra Contracting, Renewable Resources Division builds custom three-bin turning units for composting. Contact: Robert Waddell.
*Some above retailers also sell compost turners, kitchen collectors, compost thermometers, and rain barrels. Contact retailer for availability and pricing.