How To

How To: Build Compost Bins

What does every good allotment need? Compost1

Before we started assembling anything, our first task was to work out how much room to dedicate to composting. We decided to go with a three stage operation & then use that metal enclosure for letting manure rot down for the following year. This should give us a nice healthy supply for all of our raised beds – we just need to keep it filled up!

The next step was to fix the pallets together. I was planning on picking up some brackets, but in the end, I used longer screws to go between the blocks, Becks found a bracket in the soil, so that did for the bottom & where I needed extra wood, used larger pieces and screwed into those from each pallet. (This was another one of those jobs made easier by an impact driver – drilling and screwing would still work, but it will take you much longer).

Where the ground wasn’t level (almost everywhere), I used wooden blocks & bricks to support the pallets. At this point, I also decided to cut longer lengths of timber to use as supports that would edge all of the pallets. Not only did this make it look nicer, it added a lot of strength to the entire structure.

 

After a short while, I was pretty happy with the results – but we weren’t finished yet! As there was a lot of weeds / grass seed mixed in with the soil, we wanted to be sure that it was OK to dig back in without making more work for ourselves. With this in mind, we decided to line the bays with black polythene – that would stop the grass re-growing in the sunlight & ensure that everything rotted down nicely. There may be an impact on the good bacteria in the soil, but we’ll see how things turn out next year.

The picture with the black polythene above was actually taken after the image below – rain stopped play and I didnt take another photo of the whole thing! Once I have enough off cuts, we’ll be sliding planks down the front of all the bays, but for now, most of them are screwed into place. I’ll also be cutting the feet off the pallets in the middle & then just need to make a third roof for the last bay.

We have plenty of fence stain left over, so i’m planning on giving all the exposed wood a good coating. Because the compost bins are modular, it wouldnt be too hard to replace one, but if i can make it last a few extra years, where’s the harm!


 

1 – You might think that ‘plants’ would also be an acceptable answer, but in this case, its ‘compost’ 🙂

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