How to Make Your Own Barrel Composter

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How to make a barrel composter. Recycle a used cooking oil barrel into a composter that churns out garden-ready compost every two to three weeks. Our step-by-step photo instructions show how.

30 feet of 1 inch PVC pipe
4 feet of 1.25 inch PVC pipe
12 1-inch PVC Tee fittings
4 1-inch PVC 90 degree elbows
8 1-inch PVC 45 degree elbows
4 feet of 3 inch perforated PVC pipe
2 3-inch PVC end caps
6 square feet nylon screen
1 35-gallon food safe barrel with removable lid

Tools:
drill
hole cutter
PVC cutter or small saw
PVC cement

Optional:
2 1/2 inch thread bolts
stencils
spray paint for plastic (Krylon makes a good one)
masking tape


Now that you have all the supplies and tools necessary to build this composter, let's move on to part 2 where I'll tell you how to put it all together.

Click here for Part 2 - How to build the barrel composter.


As you know, we also publish FabulousFoods.com. While creating and testing the wonderful recipes we have on the site, we accumulate lots of food scraps, just like you probably do at home. So instead of throwing them away, we decided to extend their usefulness and compost them for our garden.

With the price of groceries these days, you're going to want to use every last scrap. In addition to kitchen waste, you'll also want to add raked leaves, mowed grass, and other plant matter to give your compost balance.

You can certainly make compost without this composter, but using it will keep the process (and your yard) neat, and in warm weather, it will churn out a new batch of fresh garden-ready compost about every 2 to 3 weeks!

All you need to get started is a food safe plastic barrel -- like those used for shipping cooking oil to restaurants. Be sure your barrel was used to store food -- you don't want chemicals leaching into your soil via your composter. Check with your favorite restaurants if they have any old ones they want to get rid of. You can also purchase barrels inexpensively on, (where else?) ebay.com.

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