All that's needed to start backyard composting is a little space. An area of about one square metre located in a sunny well-drained location preferably located close to your garden will work. Remember to keep your composter or compost pile away from your house, other buildings, shrubs and woodpiles as this can create attractive habitats for rodents.
One of the easiest ways to start composting is to buy a plastic backyard bin available in kit form at local hardware and home supply stores. Units come in a wide range of prices, are sturdy, easy to assemble and often include instructional material.
If you have a big yard or acreage, a compost heap is one of the best ways to compost large volumes of yard and garden waste. The heap is created by simply piling leaves and yard and garden trimmings directly on the ground and tamping them down in layers.
Start with a layer of twigs to help ventilate the pile and alternate with layers of green materials such as grass clippings and browns such as dried leaves, straw and wood chips. Finish with some soil and another layer of greens and browns. Keep the pile about as damp as a wrung out sponge. The size of the pile and the thickness of the materials will determine how much heat is generated and how quickly materials decompose.
Build our own
Building your own composter allows you to design a unit suited to your needs and budget. They can be constructed from wood, concrete blocks, tires, wire mesh or even a metal garbage can with holes poked through the lid and sides to allow for ventilation. Common features include a cover to control the moisture that gets in, a floor to inhibit rodents and pests, holes or vents for air circulation, and a means to remove the finished product.
Download plans to build a single-bin rodent-resistant backyard composter or a three-bin rodent-resistant composting system. Plans are provided compliments of Metro Vancouver Solid Waste Services.
Maintain your compost pile or bin to keep it from attracting bears and other wildlife. Don't add cooked foods, bread, fruit, cereal. Sprinkling your compost with garden lime aids the composting process and reduces odours that might attract bears or wildlife.
Problem: The compost has a bad odour.