AnnaIkona
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DIY compost bin out of barrel

My husband got a couple white plastic barrels from work last week, and I wanted to turn it into a compost bin.

I know that compost bins should have an opening at the bottom and an opening at the top. But how can I do that?

Any ideas, suggestions, concerns are welcome :)
Zone 8b, Canada

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rainbowgardener
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Re: DIY compost bin out of barrel

Are you planning a tumbler? Those are frequently DIY'd from barrels. Either way you are going to want some holes around the sides as well. Composting is an aerobic process; you need good air circulation.
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AnnaIkona
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Re: DIY compost bin out of barrel

No, Rainbowgardener; I was not planning on making it a tumbler. We wanted it to cut a small "dog house" opening at the bottom, some small holes drilled everywhere and the top cut off and instead a piece of flat wood at the top.

Would that work?

Should the opening at the bottom have a lid? Or not?
Zone 8b, Canada

AnnaIkona
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Re: DIY compost bin out of barrel

Here is a photo:
Attachments
20160403_183011.jpg
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imafan26
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Re: DIY compost bin out of barrel

If you want to mimic the design of the passive composter where you add things to the top and harves from a door on the bottom, then you would cut the whole bottom off to have it exposed to the soil so the microbes can work their way up. you would have some kind of door near the bottom of the barell to collect the compost and a lid at the top to put the compost in. If you are going to build this kind of composter. I would put composting worms in it . Carbons and greens need to be chopped fairly fine or they will take very long time.
Something similar to this one.
https://www.no-dig-vegetablegarden.com/composters.html

The commercial composter is 90 gallons so twice the size of your 55 gallon drum. It might be better to make the composter out of a 90 gallon trash can. It already has a lid you just have to cut off the bottom to get it on the ground and make a door for it on the bottom.

I'd save the drum for a water barrel, cut it lengthwise for planters, cut the bottom and top off and use it for a planter for gobo or parsnips which have really long roots, or cut it in half and get two ice buckets for a backyard party or half barrel planters. You could also convert it into a tower planter.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

toxcrusadr
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Re: DIY compost bin out of barrel

That barrel will work fine, you can cut a square or circle out of the bottom to allow for really good drainage but don't cut too close to the edges because the bottom and top are part of the overall strength of the drum. Leave at least a couple inches of bottom around the outside edge.

Best way to make holes is with a hole saw mounted in a drill. About 1-1/4 -1-1/2" size is best. Put a lot of them - more than you think. Google plastic compost bins to get an idea of the number of holes.

It will be difficult to reach down into the barrel to turn and mix or remove material, but you can fork out what you can reach and then gently tip it over. OR, you can saw the entire thing in half lengthwise and attach it back together somehow (removable stainless steel nuts and bolts for example). That way you can take one side off when you get ready to empty it and shovel the whole pile from the side. I have not made one this way but some commercial plastic ones like the Home Composter are designed this way to be easier to empty.
Tox

AnnaIkona
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Re: DIY compost bin out of barrel

Thank you tox and imafan26! I will definitely consider and will be back with updates :)
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