Self Composting Indoor Garden




This system is a self-composting indoor garden. The purpose was put be able to grow veggies at home and reduce waste by composting the kitchen scraps. Since the garden will produce foods it was important to use only organic materials such as soil, kitchen wastes and glue for the PVC/bucket joint. Vote if you like it, thanks!

What you need:

- 5gal bucket (or similar) ~ $3

- 4" x 36" PVC ~ $10

- Charlotte Pipe 4" PVC DMV Cap ~ $15

- 4" PVC DMV Hub x FIPT Female Adapter ~ $14

- 4" MPT PVC Clean Out Plug ~ $7

- Vigoro Clear Plastic Saucer ~ $1

- PVC Cement ~ $5

- 1 1/4" Sheet rock screws

Total ~ $60


- Screw gun w/Phillips head bit

- 1" Paddle drill bit

- Utility knife

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Step 1: Bucket and PVC Size

Select a bucket size that is reasonable and will produce enough food for what you need. I am limited to an apartment and only have a corner of a room that gets the necessary sunlight. Then pick PVC that is long enough to hold enough of your kitchen waste and also narrow enough to leave room for the vegetables to grow and develop roots.

Step 2: Cutting the Bottom for the PVC

Flip the bucket upside down and without driving yourself crazy, find the approximate center of the bottom of the bucket. Place the cap on the bottom and highlight the inside circumference with a permanent marker (as seen in the photo). Cut the outline using a utility knife.

Note: Make sure that you only cut to the inside size of the PVC because you'll need to secure the PVC cap with the threading to the bottom using PVC cement and a few screws.

Step 3: Secure the Female PVC End

Make sure that the drainage cap can fit through the whole fairly easily. Then use the screw gun and 1" paddle drill bit to make holes all over the bottom of the bucket (as seen in photos) to allow water to drain from the soil to prevent mold from growing.

Now, secure the bucket to the female adapter using the pvc cement. Let this set for a while maybe even over night. I wanted to be sure it would stick, so I placed the pvc pipe in the female adapter. Screwed the clean out plug in half way or so (being sure to keep the treads away from the cement). Balanced the pvc assembly upright. Then placed the bucket on top allowing the weight of the bucket to ensure a solid bond. The next day I drilled 3 screws into the female adapter from the bottom of the bucket to make sure it wouldn't move.

Step 4: Drill PVC

Using the 1" paddle bit, drill enough holes in the pvc to allow the compost to reach the roots and outside soil. Be sure not to drill higher than the top of the bucket because this will allow flies to come and the stench of the compost to escape. After this step is complete, secure the pipe to the female adapter/bucket assembly using the pvc cement.

Step 5: Extra

If you want to utilize extra space and allow plants/veggies to grow out of the sides of the bucket then use a cup or some sort of semi-circle to outline a half moon shape with the permanent marker. Using the utility knife cut the half-moon shape out and then cut across the bottom to fully remove the piece. Then place the piece back in at an angle.

Step 6: All Done!

Fill the bucket with a soil with organic fertilizer and then you've finished your indoor veggie garden! Make sure that you use organic supplies (and find the most natural PVC cement that you can) to reduce the likelihood that chemicals aren't passed on to your food. Place the system in a sunny area of the house and on top of the plastic saucer to collect all the drainage. If you fill the saucer with soil it allows the bucket to rest firmly and prevents the drained water to bring bugs and unwanted odor.

When composting be sure to add a small scoop of soil after each time and give it a turn every week of so. To utilize the fertilization of the compost even more, add worms to the system. This helps with expediting the composting and fertilization cycle. Good luck and comment with your questions and tell me about your experiences! Please vote if you like it! Enjoy!

Indoor Gardening Contest 2015

Second Prize in the
Indoor Gardening Contest 2015

Leftovers Challenge

Participated in the
Leftovers Challenge



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    9 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Suggestion for side planting pockets on the bucket: I know this works on pvc pipes, but not sure about the bucket....Cut straight horizontal slits instead of half holes. Heat with a heat gun, then when soft enough, bend the bottom of slit outward and above inward. See source below.


    3 years ago

    What on earth do you mean, "the most natural PVC cement"? A) There's no such thing; and B) if there were, it wouldn't matter, since PVC cements are used in drinking water lines, and are perfectly safe once cured.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    friction fitting is the cleanest method for this or use food grade silicon to create a seal


    3 years ago

    I'll sure try this ! Really cool idea.


    3 years ago

    no , you can minimize odours by using plant scraps


    3 years ago

    Very cool idea!! If you where to ad a pinch of compost deodorizer (rock Dust) it would help feed the bacteria that the worms eat as well as locking the smells in the tube. and if those two things aren't a good enough bonus? it will ad plant health and in turn human health to those who eat the plants :)


    3 years ago

    You also want to only use PLANT scraps, because of odors.


    3 years ago

    I like this idea to keep my composting worms right in the kitchen and no one will ever know! Everyone always asks me " what is in that big tote in your kitchen??"

    Now I will not have to explain. ;) thanks for the great idea!


    3 years ago

    Generally, adding the soil on top of the compost each time makes for little to no smell