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Sep 09

6 DIY Composting Bins

wire-wood-composting binsThere are many advantages that come with composting. Not only does it serve as an excellent fertilizer for your garden and lawn, it also benefits the environment by decreasing the amount of garbage bags that you send to the landfill. Compost is often referred to as “black gold”, because it revives and enhances plants when added to soil. Composting utilizes organic matter to create organically rich and healthy soil that you can add back to your garden to provide your plants with additional nutrition.

Composting occurs when garden waste starts breaking down from its original plant form into decaying organic matter rich in potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus. These are the same nutrients included in a bag of fertilizer. Compost requires four specific ingredients to successfully operate: microorganisms, brown-dry waste, green waste and water.

Here is a list of organic material that you can compost:

  • Eggshells
  • Leaves
  • Fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Table scraps
  • Grass clippings
  • Garden and lawn weeds
  • Garden plants
  • Shrub prunings
  • Pine needles
  • Straw or hay
  • Green comfrey leaves
  • Wood ash
  • Flowers and flower cuttings
  • Seaweed and kelp
  • Chicken manure
  • Newspapers
  • Coffee grounds
  • Tea leaves
  • Corn cobs
  • Cardboard
  • Shredded paper
  • Wood chips and pellets
  • Sawdust pellets
  • Dryer lint

In order to successfully compost these materials, you will require an efficient compost bin. Here is a list of 6 do-it-yourself compost bins, and how to build them.

 

1). Portable Wire and Wood Composting Bin

This compost bin is portable and can be built from a roll of wire, snow fencing or old wooden pallets that are lashed together.

List of Materials:

  • 4 – 12′ 2x4s
  • 100 – 1/2″ galvanized number 8 screws
  • 12′ – 36″ wide 1/2″ mesh hardware cloth
  • 4 – hook and eye gate latches
  • 4 – 3″ galvanized butt door hinges and screws
  • carpenter’s glue

Tools you will Need:

  • motorized saw with a dado blade OR a hammer and wood chisel
  • power stapler or staple gun
  • power or hand drill with 1/8″ bit
  • tinsnips

Directions:

1). Cut every 12′ 2×4 into 4 separate pieces 3′ long – this will leave you with a total of 16 pieces.

2). Cut the ends of the 16 pieces of wood 3-1/2″ wide by 3/4″ into lap cuts. Be sure to make the cuts on the same side of every separate piece. If you are operating with a handsaw and chisel, start off by cutting a 3/4″ groove 3-1/2″ in from each end and a 1/2″ groove halfway into the very end of the board. If you are operating a power saw, set your blade depth to 3/4″ and make several passes until the excess material at each end has been removed.

3). With the 16 boards, create 4 lap jointed frames that are 3′ square. Glue each of the lap joints with 4 wood screws and carpenter’s glue. Follow by pilot drilling the screw holes with a 1/8″ bit to keep the boards ends from potentially splitting.

4). Next, use tinsnips to cut your hardware cloth into 4 3′ square sections. Bend each edge back an inch. Place each section of your cloth onto a frame, and staple the cloth to your frame.

5). Use two hinges to connect each pair of the frames. Connect the hook and eye gate latches at the outer corner of each attached pair, in order for the L shaped sections to latch together.

 

2). Wood Bin with a Single Compartment

This compost bin contains a single compartment, and serves to confine and hold a compost pile.

List of Materials:

  • 1 – 4′-9″ 2x2s
  • 6 – 3′-3″ 2x2s (posts)
  • 24 – 4′ 1x6s
  • 4 – 2-1/2″ number 10 galvanized wood screws
  • 96 – 1-1/2″ number 10 galvanized wood screws

Tools you will Need:

  • Power or hand drill with 1/8″ twist bit
  • Hatchet

Directions:

1). Trim down the edges of the six posts (3-1/2′ long 2×2) with a hatchet to a point. Follow by pounding the four quarter posts in a vertical position, six inches deep into the soil of where your composting bin will be stationed. Space the posts apart 4 feet from the front to rear and 3 feet 10-1/2″ from side to side. Follow by pounding in the last two posts to a depth of six inches into the soil behind the front posts. Leave a one inch gap in the middle of the posts for your front boards.

2). Beginning at the 1/2″ gap at the bottom, place six 1×6 boards to each sides of the post. Use two 1-1/2″ screws for each post per board. Follow by pilot drilling the screw holes with an 1/8″ bit. Make sure to leave a 1/2″ vertical gap in the middle of the boards to provide airflow. After you’ve finished attaching the side boards, attach and screw six 1×6 boards to the unit’s rear. Use two 1-1/2″ screws for each post per board.

3). Loosely apply the remaining six 1×6 boards into the slots made up by the four front posts.

4). Get the remaining 4′-9″ 2×2 and cut two 3″ long pieces. Flip the pieces and apply one under each end of the 2×2 using two 2-1/2″ screws. Using your pilot drill, begin drilling the screw holes with a 1/8″ bit to keep the wood from splitting. Follow by applying the finished bar across the top of the unit located in the front.

 

3). Wire and Wood Three Compartment Bin

Composting bins with multi-compartments make it possible to continuously process large amounts of organic material into batches.

 

List of Materials:

  • 4 – 12′ 2x4s OR eight 6′ 2x4s
  • 10′ 2x4s
  • 4 – 10′ 2x2s
  • 1 – 12′ 2x6s
  • 2 – 6′ 2x2s
  • 9 – 6′ 2x6s
  • 1 – 10′ x 2′ sheet and one 8′ x 2′ sheet of 4 oz. corrugated fiberglass
  • 22′ – 36″ wide 1/2″ mesh hardwire cloth
  • 40 – gasketed aluminum nails made for corrugated fiberglass roofing
  • 12 – 1/2″ flat washers for your bolts
  • 3 – 8′ long wiggle molding for your corrugated fiberglass
  • 12 – 1/2″ carriage bolts 4″ long c/w nuts
  • 2 – 3″ zinc planted butt hinges for your lid
  • 1/2 pound of 2 1/2″ galvanized casement nails
  • 12 – 1/2″ flat washers for your bolts
  • 2 pounds of 3 1/2″ galvanized nails
  • 4 – flat 3″ T braces c/w screws
  • 4 – flat 4″ corner braces c/w screws
  • Carpenter’s glue

 

Tools you will Need:

  • 3/4″ socket wrench OR adjustable wrench
  • Tipsnips
  • Carpenter’s square
  • Hand or power drill with 1/8″ bit and 1/2″ spade bit
  • Stapes gun OR power stapler c/w staples

 

Directions:

1). Cut eight pieces 36″ long and eight pieces 32″ long from your 12′ or 6′ 2x4s. Form four butt jointed frames, using two pieces of each on the edge. Apply nails and glue to each joint, connecting them. Follow by cutting your hardware into four 37″ long pieces and bend each edge back an inch. Place each piece of cloth onto your frame and staple them together for every 4″. Make sure to tension your cloth to prevent it from sagging when it is filled with compost.

2). Follow by cutting your four 10′ 2x4s into four 9′ pieces. Lay down two of your pieces with the flat side down parallel to each other, outside to outside, 36″ apart. Apply the four frame pieces onto your two boards, with the 36″ dimension facing down. Follow by marking the ends of each frame on both of your 9′ long boards. Then, lay down 3 of your frames aside.

3). Beginning with your outside frame, align the frame with its markings onto a base board, then follow by drilling a 1/2″ hole through your frame and your base board into a piece of scrap wood. Using a carriage bolt, washer and nut, secure your frame to the base board, but make sure not to tighten. Follow by feeding your bolt through from your remaining three frames.

4). Lay down an additional 9′ top board onto your frames aligned with the rear outside end, marking it like the bottom boards. Follow by drilling a 1/2″ hole through your top board, as well as each frame, making sure to keep the frames aligned with the markings. Feed down a carriage bolt through each of your holes, securing together all the pieces with your washer and nut.

5). Make sure the compost frame is square enough by either measuring the distance between the outer corners, or by using a carpenter’s square. Using an adjustable wrench or socket, tighten down all of your bolts and adjust if needed.

6). For the runners and front slats, cut four pieces at a length of 36″ from the 12′ 2×6. Nail two of them together with the flush to the outer front edges and top of the frame. Nail together your other two 2×6 pieces to the front of the inner dividers, making sure they’re centered, then flush using the top. Cut six pieces 35″ in length from two 10′ 2x2s for your back runners. Follow by cutting all of your nine 6′ 1×6 boards into pieces that are 30-1/2″ long.

7). For your fiberglass lid frame, cut your last 10′ 2×2 into a 9′ piece. Cut the two 6′ 2x2s into four pieces that are 32″ in length. Form these pieces, as well as the last 9′ 2×4 into a rectangular-shaped frame 9′ by 37″. After checking for squareness, follow by connecting your frame together, using your T braces for the inner dividers, and your corner braces for the outer corners. To prevent the wood from splitting, pilot drill your screw holes first.

8). Lay down your fiberglass lid frame, with the brace side down, on your compartment frame, with the 2×4 piece at the rear of your frame. Using the butt hinges, connect these two together. Follow by drilling in your screw holes to prevent the wood from splitting.

9). Cut your 10′ and 8′ fiberglass sheets into five pieces 37″ long. Follow by overlaying each piece of fiberglass by at least one channel and placing them on top of the lid. Before fitting, trim any overhangs at the edges. Follow by pre-drilling your fiberglass and wiggling your board molding with a single nail hole after every third bump, then apply gasketed nails.

 

4). Compost Screen

A compost screen is the ideal tool for taking out the finished finely textured compost from the remainder of the coarser, for immediate use. This includes materials that aren’t completely composted, such as large lumps, nutshells and twigs.

 

List of Materials:

  • 1 – 6′ 1×2
  • 1 – 6′ 2×4
  • 1 – 2′ x 2′ piece of 1/4″ galvanized wire mesh
  • 16 – 1 1/2″ common nails
  • 8 – 3″ common nails
  • Carpenter’s glue

 

Tools you will Need:

  • Staple gun OR power stapler
  • tinsnips

 

Directions:

1). Cut the 6′ 1×2 and the 6′ 2×4 into four individual pieces. Cut two of them at 20″ and two at 15″. Form the 2×4 pieces on the edge into a rectangular shaped butt joint frame. Then, follow by connecting the frame using two 3″ nails at every joint and carpenter’s glue.

2). Follow by cutting the galvanized mesh into a size that will fit the frame, stapling the two together. Place a staple after every 4″ around the corner. Follow by tensioning the mesh to prevent it from sagging when it is filled with compost.

3). After the mesh has been secured to the bottom of the frame, nail your 1×2 strapping pieces on top of it.

 

5). Worm Composting Bin

This device is specially designed for using red worms to compost vegetable food waste.

 

List of Materials:

  • 1 – 16 foot utility treated 2″ x 4″
  • 1 – 1/2″ treated sheet of plywood
  • 1 – 16 foot utility treated 2″ x 4″
  • 1/4 pound 16d galvanized nails
  • 1 pound 4d galvanized nails
  • 2 – 3 inch door hinges

 

Tools you will Need:

  • Skill saw or rip hand saw
  • Saw horses
  • Hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Long straight edge or chalk snap line
  • Chisel
  • Wood glue
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill with 1/2 inch bit
  • Eye and ear protection

 

Directions:

1). Measure your plywood. To make your base, cut your 14 foot 2×4 into five individual pieces. Make two of the pieces 48 inches long, and three of the pieces 20 inches long. The last 12 inch piece will be used for making the sides. Follow by nailing the 2x4s together on the corner with two 6d nails at each joint. Using the 4d nails, nail the base piece of your plywood onto the 2×4 frame.

2). Cut out three 12 inch pieces from your 6 foot 2×4, in order to build your box. Apply a 1 foot 2×4 under each side panel’s end, making sure that the 2×4 is flush with the side and top edges of your plywood. Follow by nailing the boards into place. Nail all of your side pieces onto the frame of the base. To finish your box, nails the ends onto the side and base. Apply a nail to at least every three inches wherever the 2x4s and your plywood meet, in order to reinforce your box. To provide circulation and drainage, follow by drilling 12 1/2 inch holes into the bottom of the box.

3). Cut the last of the 6 foot 2×4 into two pieces that are 51 inches long, and two pieces that are 27 inches long, in order to build the lid. Cut some lap joints in the edges, then put the frame together with nails and glue. Apply your plywood on top of your 2×4 frame and nail it with the 4d nails. Lay the top of the frame on the ground, with the plywood facing down. Apply your hinges to the top and back of your frame, attaching the short screws to the top, and attach the long screw to the back of your frame. Place the hinges in a position so that the screws go into the plywood to 2x4s.

 

6). Homemade Food Waste Composter

When properly composted, scraps of food can serve as an excellent fertilizer for your garden and plants.

Using a sunken garbage can is one of the easiest ways to compost food. Make sure that the can has a tight fitting lid, and punch in some holes at the bottom. Start off by punching or drilling in approximately 20 drain holes, with a 1/4″ diameter in the rear of the garbage can. Follow by punching in or drilling 10 holes to the sides, spacing them around the can’s upper lip. Follow by digging a hole at a depth of about 15 inches, in a corner of your yard that has been well drained. Follow by pushing the soil around the sides back in. Your brand new composter is now complete!

 

So there you have it! These 6 DIY composting bins will not only help you produce excellent fertilizer for your garden and lawn, they will also help you benefit and contribute to the environment!

 

This article was posted on behalf of Go Green http://www.gogreen.org/, an emerging site on sustainable development news, critical points and opportunites for sustainable development.

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