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All you need to make compost is organic matter, air, and water. Dump fallen leaves, grass clippings, and garden debris in an out-of-the-way corner, and you'll probably have crumbly black compost in a year or two without any effort on your part. If you'd rather make compost more neatly and efficiently, you can build a bin or purchase a composter.
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Homemade bins are typically made out of wood, wire, or cinder blocks. They are designed so air can reach the compost from all sides and so the gardener can turn and remove compost. Many people build bins in pairs or threes, collecting the raw materials and beginning the composting process in the first bin, then turning the compost into the second (and perhaps third) bin for "finishing."
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Of course, ready-made bins are available. They are generally made of heavy-duty (often recycled) plastic and are designed to admit air and water but exclude four-legged scavengers, which may be a problem if food scraps are added to the pile.
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Compost tumblers and mixers are designed to produce finished compost quickly and with minimum effort. Instead of adding organic matter over time, you fill these so-called batch composters all at once (preferably with a mixture of both leafy green materials and dry brown materials). Frequently rotating the barrel ensures that the organic matter is well aerated, speeding decomposition.
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Worm composters are very effective in composting kitchen waste. Each pound of worms consumes a pound of kitchen waste a day. Vermicomposting bins don't stink, so you can keep them indoors. The end product is worm castings, an excellent soil additive. Special worms called Red Wigglers are required for vermicomposting.