DIY

How to Build a Super-Effective Compost Bin

Composting is vital for gardening, especially if you wish to keep your garden fully organic. Composting is important for improving the fertility of garden soil and it will help your plants thrive. Composting also helps with moisture management. One of the most crucial part of the composting process, along with the right choice of materials, is having the right compost bin.

It may sound trivial, but with so many possibilities on how to build a compost bin, choosing the most effective one will sure pay off in the end. While some people prefer to use simple compost bins that have to be thrown away after one use, it might be more practical to invest some time into building a more solid compost bin. Such a compost bin improves your effectiveness and it helps you produce better results. The best thing is that you can build a relatively solid, well-crafted compost bin in just a few hours.

The best thing about this composting bin is that it acts quickly. It can produce finished compost in just weeks, instead of months. Composting tends to be a long process and it’s not unusual for people to wait a whole year before their compost is ready. A bin that can speed up the process and make compost ready in weeks is sure a great improvement.

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Tools and Materials

To build an effective, solid compost bin that will speed up the composting process, you will need some basic tools and materials:

  • Strong pieces of wood in the following dimensions:

7 pieces of 1″ x 6″ x 12′ wood
9 pieces of 1″ x 6″ x 10′ wood
2 pieces of 1″ x 2″ x 10′ wood
2 pieces of 2″ x 6″ x 10′ wood
2 pieces of 2″ x 6″ x 12′ wood
2 pieces of 2″ x 4″ x 12′ wood

  • 4’x4’ metal fence posts (with screw holes)
  • 36’ x 3’ wire netting (choose chicken wire or a stronger wire with similar size-openings)
  • 2 Boxes of wood screws (2” and 2 1/2”)
  • Drill
  • Saw
  • Measuring tape
  • Sledgehammer or mallet
  • Staples and staple gun

Before you start, you will need to cut the wood in the following way:

  • To make removable planks: Cut 4 of the 1 x 6 x 12s into 12 pieces, 3’7 1/2″ each
  • To make side slats: Cut the 1 x 6 x 10s into 18 pieces, 4’6″ each
  • To make back slats: Use the 3 remaining uncut 1 x 6 x 12s
  • To make uprights for end and middle panels: Cut the 2 x 4 x 12s into 8 pieces, 2’10 1/2″ each
  • To make front and back supports: Cut the 2 x 6 x 12s into 8 pieces, 2’10 1⁄2″ each
  • To make plank supports: Cut the 1 x 2 x 10s into 6 pieces, 2’10 1/2″ each
  • To make bottom pieces: Cut the 2 x 6 x 10s into 4 pieces, 4’9″ each

Instructions

Here are the basic instructions on how to construct your compost bin:

  1. Make the End Panels. Place two side slats on top of two uprights. Make sure to do this on a flat surface. Drill guide holes first to avoid splitting the wood. Attach. After this, attach third side slat and make sure to space it evenly. This will make you one side panel. Position the front and back supports carefully. It’s best to place the assembly on a hard surface to do this. One of the planks can work as a convenient surface. Attach the supports screwing into the side slats and into uprights. Flip the panels upside down and attach bottom pieces using 2 ½” screws. This will make one end panel. Repeat these steps to build the other panel.
  2. Adding grooves. After the end panels are finished, you need to make grooves for the removable planks. Lay panels flat and attach plank supports to side slots. Allow a bit more than one plank’s thickness before attaching. It’s best to leave plank in place as a guide.
  3. Making the Middle Panels. Building the middle panels is very similar to building the end panels, with a few exceptions. Place the slats on top of uprights and attach third side slat. After this, flip panels and fasten three more side slats on the other side of both panels. Also, keep in mind that front and back supporter must be centered perpendicular to the uprights. After this, attach the bottom pieces and make sure to screw into side slats using 2 ½” screws. Add grooves just like you did with the end panels (by attaching plank supports to uprights). Do it on both faces of the two middle panels.
  4. Installing the Bin. Balance the panels on the front supports and attach the 3 12’ back slats to both end panel back supports. Measure about 49” from each end and mark the spot where middle panels will go. Attach middle panels with screws and make sure to center marks on back supports.
  5. Adding removable planks. Place the bin with bottom pieces on soil and carefully add 4 removable plants into each bin. They will evenly space the front supporters. Remove planks and point in metal fence posts to continue.
  6. Final touches. Attach posts and staple wire netting to insides of each bin. Replace removable planks.

How to Use the Bin

Your compost bin actually consists of 3 separate bins you can use the speed up the composting process. To use the bin, fill the bin #1 with the materials. Every few days, turn the contents from a full bin to the empty bin (#2). This will speed up the decomposition.

Begin filling the other empty bin (#3) with new, fresh materials. When this one bin is full, bin #2 is finished and ready to use. At the same time, you will have an empty bin (#1) to start the composting process all over again.

Using three separate bins for turning the contents greatly speeds up the composting process. Also, it allows you to use the finished compost while there’s still new compost being produced. This way, you will have enough compost all year long so you can use it for all your gardening needs.

Photo credit: kirstyhall via photopin cc