Easy-to-Make Compost Bin Designs

There seem to be an almost unlimited number of different compost bin designs. Some people create elaborate layouts to allow ease of use, or in the hope that they will produce better, trouble free compost. Others just take stock of what kind of stuff they have laying around, and make their bin out of that. In this article we'll describe a few of the various types of bins.

Rotating barrel tumbler- a forty-five gallon drum sits on a wooden stand and turns via threaded rod, nuts, and washers. You need a 'food-grade' drum (not one that held industrial chemicals), some wooden two-by-fours for the stand, a length of threaded rod with nuts and washers to fit, and a couple of hinges and a hasp for the door you'll be cutting into the drum. To operate, just insert the ingredients through the door, fasten shut with the hasp, and turn a couple of times.

Wooden Shipping Pallet Bin - This is a simple and inexpensive one. Pallets can usually be picked up for free. Otherwise, you can buy them for a buck or two each. To create this design, you just stand three pallets up on end and screw them together. Use hinges or bolt latches to turn a fourth pallet into an openable or removeable door. If you make a large quantity of compost, you can adapt this basic design to a two or three bin setup. In these multi-bin composters, you start the compost in one bin, then turn it by emptying it into the next.

Gargage Can Composter - A simple one. You can either use a garbage can to construct a rotating bin like the one above that uses a forty-five gallon drum, or use the garbage can as a stationary bin. For the latter, you need to drill holes in the can to allow excess moisture to escape and air to circulate through the compost, and you'll have to manually turn the materials with a pitchfork or shovel on a regular basis.

Mesh Circular Bin - Easy to build and simple to use. Just create a circular bin of an easy-to-handle size out of mesh hardware cloth or chicken wire (galvanized preferred). Add the compost ingredients in the top. The materials on the bottom will compost first. To remove the compost or turn the pile, just pick up the bin and set it next to the compost, then shovel the material back into the bin. Now the more thoroughly composted material will be on top. You can also remove that material for use in the garden if it's finished.

There you have a few simple compost bin designs. Go ahead and build one of those, or use the descriptions to fuel your creativity in coming up with your own. Maybe we'll be writing about yours soon!

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