Showing off new homemade compost bin (photos)
This week I built my new compost bin and figured I would show it off (a few photos below). Because of some landscaping we did last summer, the old chicken wire hoop I had been using for the last eight years was not in an ideal location. And it was smaller than what I want, particularly given new found sources of horse manure and chicken manure/bedding. And it was time to build something new! This project has been on the books for two years and I finally got it done.
It is made of pine boards and 1/2 inch hardware cloth and has two bins that are each a little under 4x4x4 (curious assistant composter for scale). The sides and back are hardware cloth. The front panels and the middle divider are 1x6s on edge that can be removed for easy access and turning between bins. Following someone's suggestion in some post here somewhere, I used screws at the ends of the boards to space them at 1/2 inch for additional ventilation. The close up shows how I designed the brackets (1x2s and the vertical 1x6s on the front) to hold the front and middle panels. The lids are hinged and can be propped open while working.
The final two photos show the bin in action! On the right is production from the pile I started last fall in the old chicken wire hoop. I screened that pile through the screen propped up there, which has 1/2 inch hardware cloth, and put the finished compost (final photo) into the bin on the right for adding to the raised and other beds. I know, I know, compost does not need to be screened, but I like the look of the fine texture and I return the coarse residue to the pile to cook for next time! The old chicken wire hoop yielded five wheelbarrows of finished, screened compost! It was only about three feet in diameter, so I think with more ingredients this year (i.e., neighbors leaves, and did I mention the newly found sources of horse manure, and chicken manure/bedding?...now I am just bragging!) I should be able to make even more in the new, bigger bin.
The coarse residue and unfinished material from the top of the old hoop bin is in the bin on the left, piled on top of the first batch of fresh grass clippings and chopped leaves from last fall, which is heated right up. When I finish mowing the lawn, I will add more grass and leaves and then mix and turn the whole pile by dumping it into the other bin!
The new bin
Three front boards of left bin removed and lid propped open
Screws in the ends of panel boards for 1/2 inch spacing.
Dribble, the assistant composter, examines the new bin with all front boards removed. Dividers between the bins can be removed also.
Detail of brackets for removable boards. Divider boards in place between 1x2 brackets, front boards removed from between front 1x6s and 1/x2s.
Action shot! Five wheelbarrows of screened, finished compost on the right, beginning of new pile on the left. Right lid is not screwed on to hinges yet.
Close-up of finished compost from the pile started at the beginning of last fall. Some scraps of dry leaves from the edges made it in too.