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In this video, Ask This Old House landscape designer Jenn Nawada gets a lesson on the best ways to compost organic materials at home.

Steps for Using a Compost Bin

  1. Sort organics to throw in the compost bin, like fruit, vegetables, coffee grounds, and eggshells for carbon and dry leaves, newspaper, or cardboard for nitrogen. Do not use meat, dairy, oils, or bones in compost.
  2. To build your own composter, use a 32-gallon trash barrel and drill several 5/16-inch holes using the cordless drill on the cover of the garbage can and up and down the sides for aeration.
  3. Add organic matter to the compost bin. It should be a 3:1 ratio of carbon items to nitrogen.
  4. Aerate the pile at least once a week, stirring the compost and getting the materials to break down.
  5. Finished compost should be ready for use in several months.