How to Build a Compost Bin
Everyone is crazy about composting these days — and why not? Compost is good for growing gardens, and composting is an eco friendly way of getting rid of waste. It is also easy to do, and requires little setup or construction to get started. In this guide we’ll show you how to build a compost bin.
Composting is a natural process (it takes place in nature all on its own) in which bacteria, fungi and other organisms decompose organic material like leaves, grass clippings, and food waste. The material that’s left over at the end of this process is called “compost”. Rather than waiting for the worms in your yard to compost your waste, you can build a compost bin and accelerate the process.
You don’t have to build a compost bin to take advantage of composting — any organic material (like leaves, grass clippings, and branches) can be used as a mulch Mulches that are placed on the soil surface control weeds, reduce moisture evaporation, cool off the ground temperature in summer and keep it warmer in winter, and reduce soil erosion. Mulching is a great alternative to composting and requires no bin.
My favorite kind of compost bin is a wire-mesh unit. It is easy and cheap to build and lasts forever.
You can use something like galvanized chicken wire or hardware cloth to build your wire-mesh bin. If you have to use non-galvanized chicken wire you will be disappointed by how quickly your compost bin wears out. Depending if you want to be able to move your compost bin around, or if you’d prefer a stable solitary unit, you can add posts. I like to build wire-mesh compost bins without posts because they’re easier to build and you can easily pick up the bin to get to the “good” compost at the bottom of the pile.
Building a Compost Bin
In order to get started building a compost bin you will need the following materials.
- 10-foot length of 36-inch-wide galvanized chicken wire, or 10-foot length of 1/2-inch-wide hardware cloth
- Heavy-duty wire or tin snips
- Hammer (for chicken wire bin)
- Work gloves
Start by folding back 3 to 4 inches of chicken wire at each end of the cut piece to provide a powerful and clean wire edge that will not poke or snag. This edge will also be easier to latch. If you do this step at the beginning, you’ll save yourself a lot of cuts and stress later.
Now you simply stand the wire up in a circle and set it in place where you want to make your compost pile.
Next, cut the heavy wire into the lengths you need for mesh ties. Now attach the ends of the chicken wire with the wire ties, using pliers. Make sure these connections are strong.
Finally, you need to space your wood or metal posts (if using them) around the inside of the chicken-wire circle. To do this, hold the posts tightly against the wire and hammer them firmly into the ground. These posts will provide support, but keep you from having easy access to your finished compost.
That’s it. You’ve got your own compost bin. Prepare to enjoy the best compost and mulch in town.