There are many ways to compost. The simpilest composting method is to create a pile of yard debris and just let it sit. However, using a simple compost bin will help you pile more materials in less space, will keep the pile neat looking, and will keep animals, wind or rain from knocking the pile over.
The bins described in this brochure provide a convenient way to compost moderate volumes of yard debris with minimal labor. Yard debris, such as grass clippings, weeds, leaves, and small woody stems or branches, is simply added to these bins as it is created. That's it!
Used this way, these bins are called yard debris holding bins. They hold yard debris as it decomposes. Just add water occasionally and the compost will be ready in 6 months to 2 years.
You may create more yard debris than the bin can handle when used as a holding bin. If the bin is full, yet you have more to compost, there are several things you can do. You can take the bin apart and move it to another location. The original pile can be left "free-standing," to decompose and shrink right where it is. This is a common, acceptable method of composting.
You can also increase the speed of composting and thereby save space in the bin. For instance, chop or shred the yard debris as you put it in the bin. To maintain adequate moisture, water and cover the pile with plastic or heavy fabric. Turning the materials occasionally will also speed up the process of producing finished compost. Mix fresh green materials (such as grass) with brown yard debris (such as leaves). This will produce compost more quickly than if only one type of material is used or the materials are not mixed together.
You can easily move the bins to turn the pile or to harvest finished compost and begin building a new pile: simply take the bin apart and move it. Compost can then be turned into the bin at its new location, and finished compost can be removed from the pile.
Wood Pallet Compost Bins
Wood pallets are easy to and make an easy-to-build, sturdy compost bin. Not only that, they're free! Many companies still consider wood pallets a waste material and pay to have them hauled away with their garbage. If you see pallets at a business, ask if you can have them. Select four pallets of the same size to make the four sides of your bin. Connect the sides by tying them with string, rope or wire, or by nailing them with double-headed nails. However you connect them, be sure to do it in a way that makes them easy to take apart when you want to move the pile or harvest the compost.
Heavy-duty wire or tin snips, pliers, hammer or metal file, staple gun and work gloves.
Roll out and cut 9' of 1" x 1" welded wire, hardware cltoh, or plastic-plastic coated wire mesh. Trim ends flush with a cross wire to eliminate loose edges that may poke or scratch hands. File each wire smooth along the edge to insure safer handling when opening and closing bins. Filing the ends of plastic-coated wire mesh may cause the plastic coating to tear. Instead, strike the cut end of each wire with a hammer a few times to crimp any jagged edges.
Using a staple gun, staple a 3-foot length of 1 x 4 decking or scrap wood to each end. Bend wire into a circle and attach with eye hooks, to ensure your compost is contained. Plastic-coated wire mesh is a heavier material, and bending it into an even circular shape may require extra effort.
Hand saw, circular saw, or table saw. Hammer, screwdriver, tin snips, caulking gun, pencil and small carpenter's square.
USE EYE AND EAR PROTECTION
Cut the pressure-treated 12-foot 2 x 4 into four 36" pieces. Cut two 12-foot 2 x 4's into two 36" and two 29"-long pieces. Cut four 29" pieces from the remaining 12-foot 2 x 4.
Cut the 30 x 15" sheet of plywood into 8 squares 7 1/2" on each side. Cut each square diagonally to create 16 plywood gussets.
Make four 3-foot square frames from the cut pieces, making sure to use at least one piece of pressure treated 2 x 4 on each frame. Pre-drill at least 2 inches through the 36" pieces and fasten with 6" screws. Exterior glue helps keep moisture out.
Before attaching, raise gussets from bottom of bin by 1 to 1 1/2," so untreated wood does not come in contact with soil.
When frames are complete, cut the hardware cloth with tin snips into four 3-foot-square sections. Bend the edges of the cloth back over 1" for strength. Lay one piece onte each of the four frames. Center and tack each corner with a poultry-wire staple. Place a staple every 4" along all four edges of the hardware cloth. Try to adjust the tension of the cloth, so it will not sag when filled with compost.
Connect each pair of frames together with two hinges. Then, put the hook and eye gate latches on the other ends, so that the sections latch together. Make sure each panel has a pressure-treated piece on the bottom.
Questions? e-mail: Joyce Jimerson