Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Improvised Compost Bins

One of the projects on my list this year was to build a new “two bin” composter. Well. I ran out of time and didn’t get it done. I still wanted to collect and keep my leaves, though, and didn’t want to have to bag them all. So, I improvised and whipped together a couple of wire bins. Okay, “whipped together” isn’t exactly how it happened. The hardware cloth is quite stiff and comes in a roll. By the time I got to the end of the roll, I needed to use some stones to hold it down so I could bend it in the correct places.

I used rebar posts from the home store as my corners and placed them 3 ½ feet apart. Then, I started measuring the hardware cloth and made creases in it every 3 ½ feet so it would stand up better around the posts. I started using zip-ties to hold the hardware cloth to the rebar posts, but found that some coated wire cut into about 3 inch pieces worked much more quickly. If you look closely, you can see that I ran out of hardware cloth on the second bin and used rabbit fencing to finish off the fourth side. Since it’s temporary and holding only leaves, I think it will be okay.

I then got out a tarp, raked the leaves onto it, and dragged the tarp to the bins, which to my surprise, filled VERY quickly! We had some rain yesterday and I noticed that the leaves have already started to compact themselves. In the photos, the leaves reach almost the top of the bins, but even a few days later, there is already about a 12 to 15 inch gap!

I can hardly wait for spring so I can spread the composted leaves through the gardens!

p.s. Oh. Those stones in front of the bins are for ANOTHER project I didn't get to this year -- the stone steps on the West Hill. *sigh* There's always next year!


Mary S. said...

I have some similar looking compost bins out back. They work, though I keep hoping I'll finish the bins I planned to build this year. Ah well...

Anonymous said...

From one improviser to another. Yours will work out great. I use huge grower pots. With the big holes in the pots and the black rubber, they make good bins that heat up great. I put in kitchen scraps, garden waste, grass clippings, paper from the shredder and now, dried leaves. My compost gets composted in record time. I have used two big pots, started only 3 months ago, already in the garden. These pots are for large trees so they are big, I can not move them when full. I only turned them twice in the 3 months too. Four of them keep me in compost all summer.

Auntie K said...

Mary; Glad to hear I'm in good company!

Donna; I have a couple of those big grower pots. Do you cover them? How do you keep the creatures from nibbling on the kitchen scraps? My existing compost bin is a black plastic "barrel." I hate it because I can't get anything out of it -- even though there's a "door" at the bottom.

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