Build a Compost Bin for Free

How to Re-Purpose for Backyard Gardening


I'm looking to build a compost bin out of re-purposed materials for my country backyard gardening beds. Unlike my urban farm, where I have a commercially produced plastic model, I'm not concerned about it's aesthetic appeal. It simply needs to work, and since my budget is $0, it needs to be free.

Build A Compost Bin From Old shipping pallets

wood pallet compost bin Many neighborhood businesses and hardware stores have a selection of wooden pallets out back. However, before I go acquiring willy-nilly, I ask. Some shippers charge retail shops like Home Depot and Lowe's a rental fee for the pallet use, between $5-8 each. If a small store is losing pallets overnight to scavengers, that loss can add up. For the bin I'm planning on building, I need three pallets, four if I decide to make a front gate. I started by prepping the area by pulling weeds, then grading out the soil to lay a patio of reclaimed brick to rest the bin on. Then, I simply fastened the three pallets at the rear and sides with a combination of 'L' brackets, wood screws, and old clothes line rope. Easy as can be, and the bin is ready to create compost.

Free, Re-Purposed Plastic Storage Bins
There are, of course, other great ways to make compost for free. A re-purposed plastic storage bin works well for those with small garden plots. Use one of the 20 gallon plastic variety, and drill holes through out, including the bottom and lid, for air circulation. The compost mix is always the same, with 1/2 brown and 1/2 green. Keep this unit raised from the ground at least a couple of inches to aid drainage and air flow, and then turn as usual.

Backyard Gardening With Contractor's Waste Bags

The suggestions for free compost bins are getting simpler, yes? Using heavy contractor's waste bags like those found at Home Depot or Lowe's can be perfect for the apartment dweller with a terrace that's too small for the plastic storage tub. Use contractor bags not only for durability and strength, but for effeciency as well. The black plastic will super-heat the mix and there will be black gold in the bag before long. To turn the mix, simply lift, roll, and shake.

Direct Composting 'How To'
The simplest form of composting there is, and nearly worry free. Before planting a garden, dig at least 6" below the soil and place the uncomposted material directly in the garden beds where the veggies will go in two weeks or so. This gives the material time to break down and be ready for any plants, but if the need for speed over takes patience, add some dry yeast to the deposit and water well. If the plants are already in, simply bury the material around them, again at least 6" below the surface, to deter animals from digging up a free meal.


Kim said…
Yes, pallets make great composters! We made a similar area too and it's worked very well for us for years now.
WT Abernathy said…
We are thinking two, side by side, so we can fork one into the other for a good turn-over-
I love your compost bin! Our is exactly the same except we use three pallets per bin with the front being left open. We do, however, put chicken wire inside to keep the composts from falling through the outside though. We also tie 3 bins together because we farm about 7 acres.
WT Abernathy said…
We're just trying to get away from expensive gadgets, and anything we can do to make life simpler is something we're going to do. Everyday, we pass by pallets that are free for the taking, and as long as they are't chemically treated, we find a use for them:)