It's easy to make your own compost barrel with a few basic supplies, and you'll be rewarded with an environmentally friendly, nutrient-rich additive for your garden soil. Many people find barrels more convenient than bins for composting, since it's easier to rotate a barrel than turn a compost pile. The following article explains how to make your own compost barrel with minimal supplies.
Before you obtain your barrel, make sure it hasn't ever been used for holding toxic liquids or materials. Darker colored barrels absorb more heat than lighter barrels, which will help compost break down faster. If you can't find a dark colored barrel, a light one will suffice. Drill about 10 rows of holes over the entire barrel, leaving three inches between each hole. The holes provide aeration, which is an important component in composting. Choose a spot to keep your compost barrel, which should be stored on its side. You'll need to rotate your compost barrel once or twice a week, so it's a good idea to put your barrel in a spot where you'll have ample room to move it around.
Never fill your compost barrel more than 3/4 full. Doing so will prevent proper aeration and slow the composting process considerably. Materials in a compost barrel should fully decompose in about six months, though it may take longer. As you fill your compost barrel, it's important to use the right ratio of ingredients. It's important to mix what are commonly referred to as "brown" and "green" ingredients. Green ingredients include fruit and veggie scraps, lawn clippings and old plants, while brown ingredients include leaves and dead grass. Aim for two parts brown ingredients and one part green to ensure speedy decomposition.