Saturday, March 8, 2008

How To Make A Compost Bin

I finally made myself a larger compost bin today.

I've been meaning to make a compost bin for quite some time. I have a couple of smaller plastic ones, but I wanted something larger. There are a couple of reasons for this.

Firstly, a larger compost heap should work faster. It should be able to generate more heat and break down more quickly. And the extra mass helps to insulate it more, allowing the center to heat up more. I believe that if the compost heap gets hot enough, it'll kill the seeds of any weeds which have made it into the pile.

The second reason is simple - I want to make more compost. The small bins I have now are fine for a our kitchen scraps and a few leaves, but I have a lot more organic material I could be using. With the new bin set up I have, I can compost all of our kitchen scraps, lawn clippings and the masses of leaves all of our trees drop each year. Add to this some old newspaper and a helping of manure, and I should be rolling in it...

And the best thing of all - it only cost me a few dollars (for a box of nails) and half of a day of my time. You see, we recently have one of the fences on our property line replaced and I hung onto some of the old timber for this very purpose. So using the old fence posts, I built the frame of the compost bin, then lined it with the old fence palings.

My only concern is how long it will last. I'm worried that the wood (that has started to rot in places anyway) wont be able to handle too many cycles of composting. I suspect that all of the microbes which do all of that work to break down our organic waste wont know where to stop. But it wont be the end of the world - after all, as I said earlier, it only cost be a few dollars and a little of my time. And it was a great project for my son to help out on - a real father-son bonding experience with all of the measuring, sawing and hammering.

And I thought that recycling the word (apart from saving money) was quite fitting. I like the idea that the timber was recycled and put to use to recycle household and garden organic waste.

If anyone is interested in learning how to make a compost bin out of recycled timber, let me know and I will pass on what I've done.