DIY Compost System
Compost is created in forests, fields, and plains around the world. It is the result of organic matter (plant parts and food scraps) decomposing with the aid of water, oxygen, invertebrate organisms (worms, slugs, sow bugs), and beneficial microorganisms (fungi and bacteria). Crumbly, dark brown finished compost is not soil, though it may resemble it; nor is it fertilizer. It is a soil amendment that can be incorporated into garden soil to help it retain moisture and nutrients. It improves the texture of problem soils and encourages the growth of microorganisms that maintain plant and soil health. Perhaps best of all, it's a free and easy way to dispose of organic waste, which decreases trash pickups and landfill usage. And getting started doesn't necessarily require any special equipment: piling up materials and letting nature take its course will eventually produce compost. By following a few simple guidelines and building or buying a compost bin, however, you can optimize the process, making it happen more quickly and conveniently.
This three-bin setup is the classic, DIY backyard composting system. It is the best choice for large families, rural properties, and avid gardeners because it has one pile to add to, one pile that is decomposing, and one finished pile to use in the garden. For instructions on building your own, go to extension.iastate.edu/Publications/PM683.pdf