How to Make a Compost Barrel for Eco-Friendly Gardening

How to Make a Compost Barrel

Introduction: Why Composting is Important

Composting is an eco-friendly practice that allows you to turn your kitchen and yard waste into nutrient-rich soil. It not only reduces the amount of waste going into landfills but also provides you with free fertilizer for your garden. Making a compost barrel is a straightforward DIY project that can help speed up the composting process. In this blog post, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of creating your own compost barrel.

Gathering Materials and Tools

Before getting started, make sure you have all the necessary materials and tools at hand:

1. A large plastic drum or barrel (roughly 55 gallons) with a removable lid
2. A drill with various-sized drill bits
3. Bungee cords or metal clasps
4. Wire mesh or nylon screening material
5. Organic waste such as fruit peels, vegetable scraps, grass clippings, and leaves

Step 1: Preparing the Barrel

Begin by thoroughly cleaning your plastic barrel to remove any residue or chemicals it may contain from previous use. Ensure both ends are closed tightly by securing the removable lid firmly.

Step 2: Creating Air Vents

To ensure proper airflow within the compost barrel, it’s important to create air vents using a drill equipped with a medium-sized drill bit on one side near the bottom of your container.

Step 3: Adding Drainage Holes

Drainage holes are crucial in preventing waterlogging inside the compost bin. Drill several small holes on both sides near its base using a small drill bit.


Avoid making large drainage holes that might let valuable nutrients leak out during heavy rains.

Step 4: Installing the Wire Mesh

Cut a piece of wire mesh or nylon screening material to fit over the air vents you created in step 2. Attach it securely using bungee cords or metal clasps, ensuring no gaps are left for pests to enter.

Step 5: Placing the Compost Barrel

Choose a suitable location for your compost barrel. Ideally, it should be placed on bare soil or grass, allowing beneficial organisms from the ground to assist in decomposition. Make sure the spot receives partial sunlight and is easily accessible for adding waste materials.

Step 6: Adding Organic Waste

Now that your compost barrel is fully prepared, start filling it with organic waste such as vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells, yard trimmings, and small amounts of shredded paper or cardboard. Avoid placing meat or dairy products as they may attract unwanted pests.


To speed up decomposition and enhance airflow within your compost barrel further, alternate layers of green (nitrogen-rich) and brown (carbon-rich) waste materials.

Step 7: Maintaining Your Compost Barrel

To ensure successful composting:

1. Regularly turn your compost barrel every week using a garden fork or shovel.
2. If necessary, add water periodically to maintain moisture levels similar to a damp sponge.

Remember that maintaining an appropriate balance between green and brown waste helps accelerate decomposition while keeping unpleasant odors at bay.

The Final Result: Nutrient-Rich Compost!

With time and regular maintenance following these steps diligently, nature will work its magic inside your compost barrel. Over several months depending on external factors such as temperature and moisture levels, you’ll end up with dark crumbly soil rich in beneficial bacteria and nutrients – ready to be used in your garden!


Making a compost barrel is an excellent way to contribute to the environment while benefiting your own gardening efforts. By reusing organic waste and turning it into nutrient-rich compost, you reduce landfill waste, save money on commercial fertilizers, and improve soil quality. Remember, patience and dedication are key when it comes to successful composting. Start making your own compost barrel today and enjoy the rewards of sustainable gardening!