Bucket in a Hole

Bernalillo County Extension Master Composters

Man digging hole in ground, a little larger than his bucket
1. Dig a hole in soil to accommodate the bucket. Preferably locate the hole in the shade.
Man holding bucket with bottom removed
2. Cut out the bottom of the bucket.
Man placing bucket in hole in ground
3. Place the bucket in the hole and then fill in with soil around the bucket.
Young woman putting organic material into the bucket
4. As organic material becomes available (greens and browns), put them inside the bucket.
Young woman putting top and brick on bucket
5. Cover the top after each addition, then put a brick on top. If shade is not available, the bin may be covered with two layers of shade fabric or cardboard.

Additional comments about Bucket in a Hole method:

  • The container may be any size with a lid.
  • The soil will insulate the bucket contents from ambient air temperature variations.
  • Maintain a moisture level in the organic materials that it is similar to the moisture content of freshly brewed coffee grounds, saturated but not dripping.
  • When the bucket is 3 / 4 full, stop adding organic materials and allow contents to finish decomposing.
  • When the compost is finished, pull up the bucket and shake the contents into the hole or to another area in your garden. Then, restart the process.
  • Composting worms may be added to this system.

Please read our brochure Composting in the Desert.

If you have questions you may send them in an email to compost-questions@nmcomposters.org.

To see other styles of homemade compost bins see Homemade Compost Bins for the Desert.

Photos are by Mike Stoy.