Should A Compost Bin Be In The Sun or Shade?


Whether you just have a few plants in pots on a balcony or a full vegetable garden that you get the bulk of your produce from, you will eventually need compost. While it is possible to buy compost at the store, creating your own is easy and less expensive. The real question is should you keep the compost bin in the sun or the shade?

Whether you should keep the compost bin in the sun or shade depends on how quickly you need the compost to be ready. If you need compost sooner, it is better to have it in the sun, as the additional heat will help it break down and dry out more quickly. If you don’t need it quickly, it is fine to keep it in the shade.

While creating your compost bin is pretty simple and can be done by adding scraps from your table, including breadcrumbs, eggshells, and leftover veggie bits, there are a few tips to keep in mind to help create the best compost possible. Read on for details of why compost develops faster in the sunshine, as well as what you need to know to create your own compost bin.

Will a Compost Bin Work in the Shade?

A compost bin can work in the shade. While it may not be ready as quickly due to lower temperatures, keeping it in the shade also means you don’t have to worry about it drying out too quickly.

Additionally, if the shaded area is underneath deciduous trees, while it can be a little tricky to have a compost bin there (see below), by the time the leaves fall, the temperature will also be cooler, which means you have the benefit of direct sunlight without having to worry about it drying out too quickly.

If you have chosen an area that is constantly shaded year-round, such as under pine trees or next to a building, you will need to be sure to rotate the compost so that each part of the compost pile has the chance to be at the warmest part of the pile in the center.

Can a Compost Bin Go in the Sun?

A compost bin can go in the sun. In fact, a compost bin that is in direct sunlight makes the bacteria and fungi more active. Since their activity is what causes the compost pile to heat up enough to create the compost, the warmer it is, the more quickly the compost will be ready.

However, if you place your compost bin in direct sunlight, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  1. Be sure to moisten it regularly. If a compost pile dries out, then the bacteria and fungi will not be able to function properly, and the process will grind to a halt.
  2. Make sure to rotate the pile. Rotation helps control odor and gives all of the pile a chance to be at the center where it is hottest, and the decomposition can take place.

It can be tempting to ignore the compost pile if it is in a hot area of the yard, so set a reminder for yourself and get it taken care of, so your compost pile develops properly.

Where Should You Not Put a Compost Bin?

While there is quite a bit of flexibility when it comes to the location of your compost bin or pile, there are certain places you should NOT put it. Some of these rules change depending on the climate and typical weather of the area where you live. Some general rules include the following:

  • Do not put a new compost bin or pile closer than ten feet from your house. There are several reasons for this, but the main ones are that there are times when the material you put in your pile can produce an unpleasant odor and that it may cause damage to your house with wood decay.
  • Don’t put the compost bin upwind from your neighbors. Just as you don’t want to have to deal with any unpleasant odors, neither do your neighbors.
  • Do not put the composting pile near trees such as redwood and willows unless you first put down some kind of base to separate it from the soil. The roots of these kinds of trees will grow up into your composting pile to feed off the nutrients.

What is the Best Location for a Compost Bin?

There are several things to keep in mind when you are deciding where to put your compost bin.

As has already been mentioned, your compost will develop faster in the sunshine, but you may get the best of both worlds if you place it in an area that is shaded part of the year. You also want to place it upwind from neighbors to keep complaints about smells to a minimum and far enough away from your house for the same reason.

  • Another thing to keep in mind is the climate where you live.
  • For example, generally, it is best to put your compost bin on a level area, so the compost gets the moisture from rainfall.
  • However, if you live in an area where it rains often, your compost bin may get too much water, and the compost will get too wet.
  • In such an environment, it is best to place the compost in an area of the yard with a slight slope.

If you are not putting the compost bin near trees, take advantage of the bugs that will help speed up the composting process by using a cage, a cloth, or placing the compost heap directly on the ground.

In Summary

A compost bin or pile is a simple endeavor created from most organic items you keep in your home, including bread, eggshells, and leftover vegetable parts.

When it comes to whether to place the bin in the shade or the sun, either will work. If you place it in the sun, you need to water it to help keep the moisture at the proper level.

If you live in an area of the country that rains a lot, place the bin on a slope; otherwise, pick an area of the ground that is level. When possible, choose a bin that bugs can get into to help speed up the composting process or place the pile directly on the ground.

Robert Sampson

I'm Robert Sampson and I live in Colorado where I spend a lot of time in the backyard with my family either grilling, playing games and sports, or working on a project to make our backyard a better place to be.

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