You could just pile
your leaves and plant material in the corner of your
yard and, eventually, they will compost.
Unfortunately, most of us do not have the room to
accommodate building a new pile every season and
then waiting 4 or 5 years for the first pile to
So, the backyard
composter generally needs to use some sort of bin or
container to hold their compost during the process.
Here are some general factors to consider when
deciding what to use in your backyard.
Size - For composting
to work at a fast rate, there needs to be a certain
minimum volume of organic matter in the pile. A
container with the dimensions of 3 feet high by 3
feet wide by 3 feet long or 4 by 4 by 4 will provide
this volume. If the pile is too small or too large,
it will work very slowly.
Aeration - Oxygen is
important to keep the pile aerobic to encourage the
"good" kind of organisms that do not cause the pile
to have a bad odor. Therefore, the container needs
to have openings that allow for air to move freely
in and out of the pile. That is why many are often
made of wire fencing materials or wooden slats.
Accessibility - You
will need to add to your pile, aerate it and
eventually remove the compost for use in your
garden. Therefore, your container needs to be
constructed such that you can easily access the
compost throughout the process.