Creating A Simple In-Ground Compost Bin



It’s the magical ingredient of the gardening world.

Got heavy, sticky clay soil Compost can fix that!

Got dry, crumbly sandy soil?  Compost can fix that, too!



  • Add vital nutrients such as nitrogen and carbon to your soil
  • Improve soil drainage (for clay this means better water drainage, for sand this means better water retention)
  • Reduce the need for frequent waterings
  • Makes an excellent mulch as well as soil amendment (no more buying mulch!)
  • Save you money (First, putting those leaves and grass clippings to use means less trips to the city dump, and second, it reduces your need to buy fertilizer!)


In addition to compost, however, you also need a place to put your compost in, i.e. a bin.

And since I procrastinate less with projects that are more simple, I decided to forgo building a bin by digging a hole instead…..

Creating a Simple, In-Ground Compost “Bin”

Last year, I dug this [roughly] 3 x 4 foot hole in the corner of our back yard:


Then I filled the hole with repeating layers of the following:

  • Leaves
  • Kitchen scraps (veggie/fruit scraps and coffee grounds only–no meat, dairy, oily foods, bread)
  • Soil (from what I scooped out of the hole)
  • Grass clippings
  • Cow manure
  • Pine Needles

Lastly, I covered over the hole with a thick layer of pine needles to prevent the contents from drying out.

Then I gave the hole a good watering.


*A successful compost pile needs heat and moisture for all these layers to decompose.*

As the months went by, I continued adding kitchen scraps, leaves and pine needles to the pile.


To reduce trips to the “bin,” I keep a kitchen-scraps bowl by our sink.  Then, when the scrap bowl gets full, I dump it in a bucket by the back door.            FINALLY, when that gets full, I lug the bucket of scraps to the compost heap.

I also continued to water the pile about once or twice a month. (When I remembered too…)


Then I turned the pile over with a shovel a couple times during the year to speed up the decomposition process.


One year later, I am very please with the results:


Rich, dark, fluffy garden gold!

Here is a comparison between the soil I first dug from the hole and the resulting composted soil:


Such a difference!

And for so little effort.  🙂

It has felt so good putting our produce scraps, leaves and pine needles to use, and in return these things have paid us back richly.

Hurray for decomposition!

For more information on composting as well as trouble-shooting, click here.

Here’s to composting success!


How does YOUR garden grow?

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How to link up:

1. Click on the link below to enter.

2. Copy the url of your gardening post and enter it into the link.

3. Comment and encourage at least one other gardener.


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16 thoughts on “Creating A Simple In-Ground Compost Bin

  1. Sounds like a good idea. I’ll have to get some horse manure from my sister’s place, or go look for some pies in the upper field. 🙂 Not many pine trees around our house, are other leaves okay?

    • Leaves are perfect! Wish I had more leaves. I just use pine needles because I have a lot of them.:) Horse manure tends to have a lot of seeds in it depending on what the horses eat which may mean more weeding for you later. Hope you are feeling well!

  2. It’s awesome to use up all that kitchen scrap to enhance your growing season. Your garden looks ready to roll. Do you have a planned layout? I didn’t have a vegetable garden at the lake but lots of flower beds. It took a long time, but amending the soil every year really made a big difference.

  3. I love gardening and have always wanted to try a compost bin, but I’ve been scare it would stink! 🙂 You’ve encouraged me. I think I’ll try it. Your dirt looks amazing!

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