How to Build Compost Bins (several different plans

Document Sample
How to Build Compost Bins (several different plans Powered By Docstoc
					Wire Mesh Bins
          Wire mesh composting bins are versatile, inexpensive
     and easy to construct. They may be used as holding bins
     for composting moderate amounts of yard trimmings or as
     turning systems for quick composting of larger volumes.
          Holding bins are a convenient way of composting yard
     trimmings with little effort; just add materials as they are
     cleaned up from the yard. With no effort besides occa-
     sionally moistening, compost will be ready in 6 months
     to 2 years. Attention to chopping materials, maintaining

     moisture by watering, covering piles with plastic and oc-
                    casional turning will produce compost in
                        less time. The bin can be moved to turn
                         piles or to harvest finished compost: just

                          undo latches, pull the mesh away from
      ...made for            compost and set it up elsewhere. The
      under $10...           pile may then be turned into the bin
                            at its new location and compost can
                         be removed from the bottom.
                          The circular and five-panel designs
                    have unique advantages. The circle bin may
                   be made for under $10 from poultry wire to
     hardware cloth. Poultry wire is the least expensive mate-
     rial, however, it quickly loses its shape with use, and re-
     quires support with posts and frequent replacement. For a
     slightly higher cost, hardware cloth creates a self-support-
     ing circle which is easier to manipulate and more durable.
          A panel unit offers a greater variety of uses. Panels
     may be added to enlarge the bin or create small bins for
     turning piles. Individual panels may be used
     for screening coarse materials from
     finished compost. A sturdy and
     attractive panel bin can be made
     with 16 gauge plastic coated wire
     mesh for under $20.

Circular Bins
 Materials                        Tools
     Four metal or plastic           Heavy duty wire or tin
     clips, or copper wire ties      snips, pliers, hammer,
     Three 4’ wooden or metal        and work gloves
     posts to support poultry
     wire bins

    Roll out and cut 121/2’ of    poke or scratch hands. Apply
poultry wire, hardware cloth      files to each wire along cut
or plastic coated wire mesh. If   edge to ensure safer handling
using poultry wire, roll back     when opening and closing bins.
three to four inches at each      Bend hardware cloth into circle
end of cut piece to provide a     and attach ends with clips and
strong clean edge which will be   ties. Set bins in place for com-
easy to latch and won’t poke or   posting. Bins made with hard-
snag. Set wire circle             ware cloth should be strong
in place for com-                           enough to stand alone
post pile and                                    without posts.
secure ends                                          Plastic coated
with clips                                           wire mesh
or wire ties.                                      bins are made
Space wood                                          in the same
or metal                                          manner, except
posts around                                   that bending this
perimeter inside                          heavier material into an
wire circle. Pound posts          even circular shape will require
firmly into the ground while      extra effort. Also, filing the
tensing them against wire to      wire ends may cause the plastic
provide support.                  coating to tear. Striking the end
    If using hardware cloth,      of each wire with a hammer a
trim ends with a cross wire to    few times will knock down any
eliminate loose edges that may    jagged edges.
Five Panel Bin
 Materials                           Tools
       20 metal or plastic clips,        Heavy duty wire or tin
       or plastic coated copper          snips, pliers, hammer
       wire ties                         and work gloves.

    Cut five 3’ long sections        of squares to leave inch long
of 24” wide wire mesh. Make          wires sticking out along one
cuts at the top of the next row      cut edge of each panel. This
                                     edge will be at the top of the
                                     bin. Use a pair of pliers to band
                                     over and tightly clamp each
                                          wire on the edge. This pro-
                                          vides protection against
                                            scraping arms when
                                            adding yard trimmings
                                           to the bin. Attach panels
                                           using clips or wire ties.

Pallet Bin
     Obtain five pallets with nar-   is the bottom of your bin and
row spaces between slats             will allow for good drainage
 (1/2”–1”) and of uniform size.      and aeration by keeping yard
Many pallets measure 40” by          trimmings above the ground.
48” and will form a 48 cubic         Properly drained and aerated
foot capacity bin. Pick up pal-      compost decomposes quickly
lets from loading docks, hard-       and without odors.
ware stores, garden                       Arrange the remaining pal-
centers, etc.                        lets upright around each side
     Place one pallet (slat side     of the base to form a box, short
up) on level ground. This pallet     (40”) sides up. Use spare wires,

coat hangers, or nylon rope to      side of a pallet and swinging it
fasten the pallets together. Join   out like a hinged door.
pallets at each corner, lashing         Pallet bin sides generally
both the top and bottom. You        last from four to six years, de-
can gain access to your com-        pending on the level of active
post pile by unfastening one        use. Bases last one to two years
                                    and may need to be replaced.
                                    Just drop another fresh pallet
                                    over the old base after remov-
                                    ing any compost still in the
                                         bin and keep the new base
                                        as level as possible. The
                                           decomposing pallet will
                                           eventually turn to com-
                                          post. Check corner lashing
                                           periodically and replace
                                           every several years, or as

The Lehigh-Keston Bin
      The Lehigh-Keston com-
  post bin, designed by J.L.
  Rodale more than 10 years
  ago, has proved to be a
  popular design. The bin is
  made of wooden slats, is
  very portable, long-last-
  ing and ideal for proper
  compost ventilation. Drill
  holes at the end of each
  slat vertical from top to
  bottom. Fasten together by
  inserting metal rods through
  the holes to form a square.

New Zealand Box
    The New Zealand Box is
another simple, ef-
ficient design devel-
oped by the Auck-
land Humic Club of
New Zealand. There
are many variations
of this design.
    The simplest is a
wooden structure, about
4’ square by about 4’ to 5’
high without top or bottom.              The preferred method of
The wooden sides consist of         filling the box is to mix organic
6” wide by ¾” thick boards.         materials thoroughly with soil

Allow one half inch of air          and manure. Make one air hole
                 space between      in the center of the box all the
                   each board so    way down to the ground using a
                   that air may     crowbar. If you turn the mixture
                      penetrate     twice, you do not need to put in
   ...simple,           the heap    an air hole after the second turn.

   efficient             from all        When the compost is ready
   design...           sides. A     to be turned, it has to be piled
                     divider in     outside the box and then put
                  front slides      back again. You can save your-
                  down between      self some time by doubling the
               two posts. Two       box size (4”x8”) with a partition
by fours provide the structural     in the center. The material is
framework for this box.             forked from one section into the

other and a new batch is then       The third section/compartment
placed into the first section. If   can be used to cure and store
you turn your compost heap          the finished compost.
twice, make a three section box

Block or
Brick Bins
     Compost bins also can be
 made of brick, cement blocks
 or rocks. Just lay the blocks
 without mortar. Leave spaces
 between each block to
 permit aeration. Pile
 them up to form three
 sides of a square
 container. This bin is
 sturdy, durable and
 easily accessible.

Portable Wood
& Wire Bin
 Materials                        Tools
      One 12’ 2”x4”                   Saw
      Three 12’ fir 2”x4”             Chisel
      12’ of 36” wide,                Hammer
      ½” hardware cloth               Screwdriver
      100 1” to ½” galvanized         Tin snip
      #8 wood screws                  Caulking gun
      Four 3” galvanized              Pencil
      butt door hinges                Small carpenter’s square
      150 poultry wire or power
      One 10 oz. tube
      exterior wood
      Six large hook and
      eye gate latches

    This portable bin provides
a convenient way to compost
moderate volumes of yard trim-
mings with minimal labor. Yard
trimmings simply are added to
the bin as they are generated,    turning will produce finished
with no effort besides occa-      compost in a shorter period of
sional moistening. Compost        time. Texture of the finished
will be ready in six months to    compost depends on the mate-
two years. Chopping or shred-     rial composted and how long
ding materials, maintaining       they are left in the bin. Mixing
adequate moisture by watering     fresh greens with brown yard
and covering with plastic or      trimmings will produce the
heavy fabric, and occasionally    best results.

    This bin is flexible. It fits   until the whole switch on is
well in small spaces, and may       removed.
be used either as a yard trim-          Make four 3’ square frames
ming holding bin or as a por-       from the lap joined 2”x4”s.
table turning unit. The bin can     Use one 2”x4” on each frame.
be easily moved to turn piles       Put enough construction
or to harvest finished compost      adhesive to fill the gaps when
and build a new pile. Undo the      the lap joints are screwed
latches, pull the sides apart and   together. Fasten each joint with
move. Compost may then be           four screws.
turned into the bin at its new          Cut the hardware cloth with
location. Finished compost can      tin snips into four 3’ square
be removed from the bottom. It      sections. Band the edges of
costs about $50 to build using      the cloth back over 1” for
new materials or less if made       strength. Lay one onto each
with recycled materials.            of the four frames. Center and
                                    tack each corner with a poultry
Details                             wire staple. Hammer in place
    Cut each 12’ 2”x4” into         a staple every 4” along all four
four 3’ long pieces. Cut a ¾”       edges of the hardware cloth.
deep and 3½” wide section           Try to tension the cloth so it
out of each end, for a total of     will not sag when filled with
32 lap cuts. If using hand saw      compost. Connect each pair
and chisel, cut ¾” down at          of frames together with two
the 3½” line. Then cut a ½”         hinges. Then put the hook and
deep groove into the end of         eye gate latches on the other
the board. Place a thick wood       ends so that the sections latch
chisel in the end groove and        together.
split the wood with the ham-
mer to the 3½” cut. If using a
radial arm saw, circular saw
or table saw, set blade
depth to ¾” and make
multiple passes

Wood & Wire
Stationary 3-Bin
 Materials                               nails for corrugated fiber-
      22’ of 36” wide, 1/2”              glass roofing
      hardware cloth                     Two 3” zinc plated hinges
      121/2” carriage bolts 4”           for lid
      long                               Eight flat 4” corner braces
      12 washers and 12 nuts             with screws
      for bolts                          Four flat 3” T-braces with
      3lbs. of 16d galvanized            screws
      /2lbs. 8d galvanized case-     Tools
      ment nails                          A hand saw or circular
      250 poultry wire staples       power saw, a drill with 1/2” and
      or power stapler with          1
                                      /8” bits, a screwdriver, a ham-
      1” staples                     mer, tin snips, a tape measure,
      One 12’ sheet and one          a pencil, a 3/4” socket or open
      8’ sheet of 4 oz. clear        ended wrench, carpenter’s
      corrugated fiberglass          square, safety glasses and ear
      Three 8’ lengths of            protection. (Optional: power
      wiggle molding                 stapler with 1” long galvanized
      40 gasketed aluminum           staples.)

     This system is used to com-     als and turned weekly can be
post large amounts of yard and       ready to use in three weeks. The
kitchen scraps in a brief period     texture of the finished compost
of time. Materials are stored        depends on the materials com-
until enough are available to fill   posted. This unit can be built for
an entire bin. Then, materials are   approximately $130. Note: Re-
chopped, moistened and layered       using pallets to form the walls
to ensure a hot compost. Piles       of this bin can significantly
are turned weekly for aeration.      reduce the cost of construction
A pile made with a balance of        materials. Construction requires
fresh greens and woody materi-       basic carpentry skills.

Build Dividers
    Cut two 311/2” and two 36”      up the center lines and make
pieces from each 12’ 2”x4”s.        the base board flush against the
Butt end nail the four pieces       outer edge of the divider. Drill
into a 35”x36” square. Repeat       a 1/2” hole through each junc-
for other three sections. Cut       tion centered 1” in from the
four 37” long sections of hard-     inside edge. Secure base boards
ware cloth, bend back edges         with carriage bolts, but do not
an inch. Stretch hardware cloth     tighten yet. Turn the unit right
across each frame, check for        side up and repeat the process
squareness of the frame and         for the top 9’ board. Tighten all
staple screen tightly into place    bolts securely. Fasten a 9’ long
every 4” around edge.               piece of hardware cloth secure-
Set Up Dividers                     ly to the back side of the bin
    Set up dividers parallel to     with staples every 4” around the
one another 3’ apart. Measure       frame.
and mark centers for the two in-    Front Slats & Runners
side dividers. Cut four 9’ pieces        Cut four 36” long 2”x6”s
out of the two 18’ 2”x4”s. Place    for front slat runners. Rip cut
two 9’ base boards on top of        two of these boards to a 43/4”
the dividers and measure the        wide and nail them securely to
2”x4”s. With each divider line                      Continued on next page

      the front of the outside                                         Fiberglass Lids
      dividers and baseboard,                                                Use the last 9’ 2”x4” for
      making them flush on top                                         the back of the lid. Cut four
      and outside edges. Save                                          321/2” 2”x2”s and one 9’
      remainder of rip cut boards                                      2”x2”. Lay out into position
      for use as back runners.                                         on ground as illustrated and
      Center the remaining full                                        check for squareness. Screw
      width boards on the front                                        in corner braces and T-braces
      of the inside dividers flush                                     on bottom side of the frame.
      with the top edge, and nail                                      Center lid frame, brace side
      securely. To create back                                         down on bin structure and at-
      runners, cut the remain-                                         tach with hinges. Cut wiggle
      ing 2”x6” into a 34” long                                        board to fit the front and back
      piece and then rip cut into                                      9’ sections of the lid frame.
      four equal pieces, 1” to                                         Pre-drill wiggle board with
      11/4” x2”. Nail back runner                                      1
                                                                         /8” drill bit and nail with 8d
      parallel to front runners on                                     casement nails. Cut fiberglass
      side of divider leaving an                                       to fit wiggle molding for each
      inch gap for slats. Cut all                                      hole. Nail on top of every
      the 1”x6” cedar boards into                                      third hump with gasketed
      slats 311/4” long.                                               nails.

                                                        Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality
                                                        Land Protection Division
                                                        P.O. Box 1677, 707 N. Robinson
                                                        Oklahoma City, OK 73101-1677

                         For More Environmental Information,
    Visit our web site at:
Contact Susie Shields in our Land Protection Division for information about composting
                       and other Environmental Education topics.
                      Ms. Shields can be reached at 405-702-5100
This publication is issued by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality authorized by Steven A. Thompson, Executive Director.
Seven hundred copies have been prepared at a cost of $231.00. Twenty-five copies have been deposited with the Publications Clearinghouse
of the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. Printed on recycled paper. (dh\LPD\Compostbins\compostbins.indd) 4/16/09

Description: how-to-compost pdf