|How to build a Compost Bin|
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your own compost bin can be as simple or complex a proces as you like. Either
way, it is a most rewarding project to undertake.
|Compost bins are open on the bottom and set directly on the ground. Compost tumblers are sealed drums which are raised off the ground and can be spun to aid aeration. While compost tumblers make compost faster, and keep pests out of the compost, compost bins are cheap to build and do an adequate job of making compost.
The purpose of building a bin is to keep the composting materials together, where they build heat as decomposition breaks down organic matter. The bin should be big enough to allow you to 'turn' the compost with a shovel or pitchfork, as this promotes aeration and speeds composting. Compost bins are best when covered, since too much rain will cool the compost and slow the composting process. You can just set a sheet of polyethylene plastic on the pile to use as a cover, or you can build a proper lid which makes tending the compost more convenient.
A compost bin can be the simplest of constructions. Some gardeners take four wood pallets, often available free from shipping companies, and stand them on edge to form a square. The pallets are then nailed or lashed together to form an instant compost bin.
How to build a compost bin is determined in part by the materials you have available. There is satisfaction in building a compost bin from scrap or recycled materials, so check what materials are available before you settle on a construction style. The instructions on this page are for a very simple, but adequate, compost bin. You can build your bin using recycled or scrap lumber, but don't use plywood - it will delaminate quickly in the damp environment of a composter. The plan below can be embellished by adding a second cross-piece on the front, and a lid on top to keep the rain from over-watering the compost.
|How to Build Your Own Compost Bin .........................................................|
Anyone can build a compost bin, it's the simplest of carpentry jobs. Try to avoid using treated lumber for your compost bin. For more info, see "Is treated wood safe?"
7 lengths of 2 x 6 lumber, each cut to 3'. Your lumberyard
will make the cuts for you. Get exterior wood, like Western Red Cedar.
Rough, unplaned wood is fine. The wood does not need to be treated with
preservatives - untreated lumber will last many years.
• Sharpen one end of each 2 x 2 to act as stakes. A hatchet works best - it doesn't have to be pretty. This will keep your bin in place.
• Nail the 3' boards to the 2 x 2's as shown. Leave space between the boards to help aerate the pile. Pre-drilling the nail holes will make nailing easier and prevent the wood from splitting.
• Set bin in place and drive the corners down into the ground with a sledge or heavy hammer.
compost bin is ready to use.
If you have the space in your garden, it's great to have a double bin, or two bins side by side. When the pile is high, you can "turn" it by shoveling it into the second bin. Then use the empty first bin to start a new pile while the other pile finishes off.
|Tips for successful composting|
'Activators' can be added to your compost to help kick-start the process
and speed up composting. Common compost activator materials are: comfrey
leaves, grass clippings, young weeds, well-rotted chicken manure.
|If you would rather buy a bin than build a compost bin|
Achla Spinning Composter
The Achla Spinning Composter simplifies and speeds up the process of making compost. Because the unit is sealed, it converts kitchen waste to compost in as little as three weeks. Mounted on a horizontal axle, the composter has raised ridges which are easy to grip.
Learn more about the Achla Composter
The Urban Compost Tumbler 9
This top-of-the-line compost tumbler makes 9 cu ft of compost in as little as 13 days. The fully sealed system is also ideal for urban gardens and homes with small yards.
Learn more about the Urban Compost Tumbler
AutoFlow Composter - two models available
These continuous-use composters have a unique Autoflow® feature, which directs the finished compost into an inner chamber. You can remove and use this compost while the raw composting materials in the outer chamber continue to break down. Learn more about the AutoFlow composter.
• Choose from many compost bin and compost tumbler models in Eartheasy's online store
• Buy a compost tumbler
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