Homemade Compost Bins – Ready for the Garden
Homemade compost bins make it possible to tailor the bin to the general look of the property and tailor the bin or bins to the needs of the gardener and the property. They are not tedious or difficult to build and can be made from a variety of materials.
The simplest container is, of course, none. The compost will work quite well in a pile next to the garden. However, some areas do not allow what they consider to be unsightly piles of trash in the yard, while a dumpster is more than acceptable. In addition to this, many gardeners prefer the look, comfort, and ritual of a series of compost bins.
A quick container can be made with a 3 foot high, 10 length welded steel wire fence. The 14 gauge is well suited for strength and sturdiness combined with a reasonable weight. Trim the fence at one end to leave the ends sticking out and fold them over to form hooks. Wrap the wire in a circle about 3 feet in diameter and hook the end of the cage. You now have a compost cage that is about 3 feet in diameter and 3 feet tall. This is an ideal size for a compost bin. Add the compost and when it’s time to put out the compost, unhook the end and remove the cage from the pile.
Next in simplicity is the pallet container. Nail three pallets together to form a U. Take a fourth and wire tie it to the other three to form a door. Alternatively, it can be hinged. Some composters prefer to leave this fourth side or door and simply fill the U, taking compost and adding material through the open side.
A wood frame container can easily be made by using 2x4s to make four wood frames, each 3 feet by 3 feet or 4 feet by 4 feet. Butt joints and nails are strong enough for a compost bin. Each frame can be covered with fencing, chicken wire, snow fencing, trellis, or anything else with an opening of about 2″ to allow air to enter the pile. Nail three of the frames in a U shape to form a back and two sides.The frame can be hinged to make a door along with hook and eye arrangements to open and close the container.
Cinder blocks can be used to make all three sides of a compost bin. Remember to make the container about three feet tall, wide, and deep. Leave about an inch between the blocks to allow air to reach the stack. Bricks can also be used, but they require a lot more work and stacking. A variation on this stacking theme is to use hay bails. They not only provide insulation to retain heat from the compost, but also gradually break down and add to the compost pile.
While there are certainly endless variations on these themes, there are a few things to keep in mind. The pile should be at least 3 x 3 x 3 feet for good composting heat. Aeration is important to keep your compost going and the easiest way to do this is by turning the pile. Make the bin in a way that makes it easy to turn over. With this in mind, consider making three containers: one to collect material and two to transfer material from one container to another.
Whichever bin you make, the compost will come along with the satisfaction of making your own compost in your own bin.