How To Make Compost In A Bottle

Kids love bugs, mud and getting messy so this is a wonderful experiment you can do at home to teach kids about compost and lifecycles as well as helping your plants grow. 

It’s a fun craft you can throw together  one afternoon and check back on it when it suits you.

Once the magic happens, you can use the finished product as a fantastic nutrient rich food for your garden or a few pots on the patio.


Empty soda bottle with top cut off

What you need to make compost in a botttle

  • A clear 2ltr plastic bottle with a lid
  • Some garden soil- not shop bought stuff.
  • Some shredded paper, (not glossy stuff though)
  • Any of your fruit and vegetable peelings. (Not citrus and onion skin)
  • Some green grass clippings, hedge trimmings and leaves. Weed pullings work too just don’t put the roots or seed heads in.
  • Some water
  • Cellotape
  • Sharp scissors
  • Permanent markers
Soda bottle full of composting materials

Compost in a bottle instructions

1. First, cut around the neck of the  bottle to form a wider neck hole.

2. Add a layer of garden soil to the bottom of your bottle.around 2cm – 4cm deep. This introduces the bacteria needed to make black nutritious compost.

3. Next add a layer of peelings, anything from left over strawberries to potato peelings.


Soda bottles full of composting materials


4. Add a another layer of each to your bottle. 

5. Add some more soil then a layer of shredded paper. 

6. Finally add another layer of soil and a layer of grass clippings or leaves. You can repeat this layering pattern until your bottle is full.

Vegetable peelings



7. Use a fine spray bottle and dampen the materials in your jar with a little bit of water.


8. Now your bottle is ready. Tape the top of the bottle closed to keep the moisture in

9. Make a mark on the side on the bottle where the top of your bottle comes to so you can see how much it changes.

Pin image how to make compost in a bottle. Paper, bottle and vegetable.peelings

Now just pop your rot pot in a warm sunny place and let the magic begin. 

In 3-6 weeks you’ll should see a big change in the contents of the bottle.

Half filled soda bottle

6 weeks later we noticed our compost had changed colour and was 12cm less in the bottle.

There was almost nothing recognisable left in the bottle. A few swatches of paper and the odd carrot chunk is all we found.

The rest was transformed into black crumbly gold. 

Soda bottle full of layers of composting materials

The kids loved this experiment and asked so many questions.

We had a big chat about microbes and soil life, so it’s a great educational activity.

They took their homemade compost and spread it around our strawberry plants and now we have a huge abundance of berries.

Whats not too love??

Learn how to make compost at home for your own plants. Diy compost can be made in small quantities, perfect for a few pots on the patio.

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