UCCE Master Gardeners of Sacramento County
University of California
UCCE Master Gardeners of Sacramento County

Composting Demonstration

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The composting demonstration at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center is an ongoing project. Our goal is to collect and compost as much of the Horticulture Center's garden waste as possible and reuse it on site.

Several years ago Master Gardeners evaluated many types of stationary and tumbler compost bins: big green tumblers, stacking black plastic, simple black plastic bins, homemade bins made out of wood slats, and others. 

After many seasons we have a few dependable, tried-and-true favorites.  Our very favorite is a simple black plastic bin, reasonably priced, easy to construct, open, sift or turn, and move if necessary.

favorite bin
easy access
bin losers
Our favorite black plastic bin Bin has easy access Not favorites

 Sunset Magazine Perfect Compost Bin

We built a “Sunset Magazine Perfect Compost Bin” style stacking bin made out of redwood fence boards. It was easy to build and the re-stacking sections make turning the bin easy.

1. Place top section next to the bin.

Sunset Bin

2. Start forking top bin materials into the section on the ground. Add new greens, if desired. Water each layer.

Sunset Bin

3. Continue to re-pile/fork composted browns and new greens; water each layer.

Sunset Bin

4. Repeat until "new" bin is completely full.

Sunset Bin

Bird's Nest Compost Bin

A fun “bird’s nest” “bin” was started in January 2015.  It's 5 feet in diameter and we have added height and materials each month. It now stands about 40 inches high.  We will build to 60 inches high and let it decompose for 2 years. It's not fast compost, but it is an attractive and fun project.  

Starting the Bird Nest

Start in January.

Building the Bird Nest

We built the side up 18 inches the first day and layered green and brown materials.

Building the Bird Nest

March--sides 36 inches; layering greens and browns continues.

Bird Nest with Eggs

April--40 inches high with surprise visitors!

Worm Composting

worm composting

We continue with our worm composting (vermiculture or vermicomposting) demonstration. This is our permanent worm bin on wheels which brings much delight to our visitors, kids of all ages.

All the compost we produce is returned to the other projects within the Horticulture Center. We attempt to recycle as much garden waste as possible, keeping as much as possible out of the landfill.


Stop by on your next visit to the Horticulture Center. We are at every Open Garden workday and will be in full force at Harvest Day in August when we will present mini-workshops for your learning pleasure. Come see us soon.

4145 Branch Center Road, Sacramento, CA 95827       Master Gardener Phone:  916.876.5338       Fax:  916.875.6233

Webmaster Email: mgsacramento@ucanr.edu