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Gary350
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My easy to build low cost compost bins

These are my compost bins. I made them out of fence wire and sheet metal. They are all 3 ft diameterl. I have tried different diameters and different heights. I use to have some 4ft dia and 2 ft dia. 3ft dia is working best for me now. If you double the diameter volume increases about 3 times. I use to have some 4ft tall but the 3ft tall is easier for me to work with I am getting older my back is not as good as it use to be I don't want to be lifting heavy loads. The sheet metal compost bin was made from a sheet metal counter top cover the metal is 26" wide 10 ft long. I have 3 sheet metal screws holding it together where the ends over lap it took 10 minutes to build this. The other 2 compost bends are fence wire. This wire comes in rolls with several different widths and lengths. Farm supply has 50 ft and 100 ft rolls. Garden supply has 25 ft and 50 ft rolls almost double the price of farrm supply. I cut the fence in 10 ft lengths over lap the end and tie it together with wire it takes about 10 minutes to build one. The fence wire comes 3ft tall, 4ft tall and 6ft tall. The compost bin that is almost full was filled last fall with grass clippings, garden left overs, tree leaves, apples from the apple tree, kitchen scraps it was filled in October so it has not composted much yet. I use to have these at the other end of the garden in full sun they composted much faster in full sun. I am planning to move them back to the other end of the garden this fall. A roll of 50 ft long fence wire 3 ft tall is $39 at TSC it will make 5 compost bins including sales tax they cost about $10 each.


[img]https://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e358/gary350/compost5.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e358/gary350/compost3.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e358/gary350/compost2.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e358/gary350/compost1.jpg[/img]

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tomf
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I am going to make a wire one to put behind the green house.

My next to my home is getting full fast.

rot
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I hear ya

..
I'm going through the same experiments in varying the size. Taller hold more and work well enough but it sure is getting to be a problem filling it when it's higher.

I'm using wood pallets or skids. Not completely free when you calculate the window screen I use to keep the critters out.

I keep thinking of that hardware cloth you're using. Thanks for showing. Any critter issues?

The garden looks great.

to sense
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rainbowgardener
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The silvery one is the compost bin, not the wire...?


Seems like it doesn't have air circulation through the sheet metal. Do you turn your compost a lot?
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Gary350
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I never turn the compost I fill one compost bin up full then I let it set and do its compost thing for a year. When one bin is full then I fill the 2nd bin and when it gets full I full the 3rd one. The 2 screen wire bins will get filled mostly with tree leaves this fall. I plan to use the lawn mower to mulch the leaves before they go into the compost bin. It will probably take 2 years for the leaves to compost they are slow. I have enough leaves to fill 10 of these wire compost bins but leaves are mostly air space after mulching with the lawn mower I hope to get all the leaves in 2 bins. I am going to sprinkle wood ash and fertilizer in both bins too. These are large enough they may generate heat during the winter and compost faster than I inticipate. I will probably get a pickup truck load of fresh manure to mix in with the leaves.

The sheet metal compost bin was started late last fall too late in the year for any compost action to happen. It is a mixture of grass clippings, very small amount of tree leaves, corn stalks from the garden, garden plants, pine needles, kitchen scraps, and more. I sprinkle on wood ash between layers I think the lye in the wood ash helps to speed it up. Anything that will work as a fertilizer I sprinkle that on between layers too. Wood ash adds potash. I pee in it too. Keeping it wet with water or pee helps speed up the compost action a lot. Now that the weather is warm I can tell the compost is working better because the volume is going down fast and it is pretty hot in the center. I keep adding kitchen scraps, grass clipping etc.

I did a compost experement in a 30 gallon garbage can. I filled it 2/3 full with water, wood ash, pee and started throwing in organic material. I filled it to the top with grass clippings, leaves, dead plants, pine needles, etc. The trash can worked like a small septic tank all the organic material rotted and in the bottom of the container. I used the water to water my garden plants then dumped the compost in the garden to dry. This batch of compost smells like a sewer but it looks like some good compost. I am having a little trouble with it the compost is trying to dry out as one large blob. I have to keep raking it around to brake it up into crumbly material.
Last edited by Gary350 on Sun May 23, 2010 7:33 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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farmerlon
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[quote="Gary350"]I never turn the compost...
It smelled like a sewer but it looks like some good compost. quote]

Sounds like that batch has gone Anaerobic; not getting enough air for aerobic decomposition.

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rainbowgardener
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Much of what Gary is doing is not actually composting, since compost by definition is aerobic. "Compost (pronounced /ˈkɒmpɒst/ or /ˈkɒmpoʊst/) is composed of organic materials derived from plants and animal that has been decomposed largely through aerobic decomposition." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compost All this stuff with sealed barrels of wood ash and pee and whatnot, is anaerobic digestion, not composting.

It will break down, but the results are not the same as in composting, which is easy to tell by the smells mentioned, which does not happen with in aerobic composting. Also:

"Composting without oxygen results in fermentation. This causes organic compounds to break down by the action of living anaerobic organisms. As in the aerobic process, these organisms use nitrogen, phosphorus, and other nutrients in developing cell protoplasm. However, unlike aerobic decomposition, this reduces organic nitrogen to organic acids and ammonia. Carbon from organic compounds, is released mainly as methane gas (CH4). A small portion of carbon may be respired as CO2.... Pathogens could cause problems in anaerobic composting because there is not enough heat to destroy them. "
https://whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/compost/fundamentals/biology_anaerobic.htm
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Gary350
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rainbowgardener wrote:It will break down, but the results are not the same as in composting, which is easy to tell by the smells mentioned, which does not happen with in aerobic composting. Also:
The only compost I have that smells bad was the 30 gallons water compost that I mentioned. All my other composts have no bad smell at all. You are correct compost needs nitrogen the air we breath is about 70% nitrogen that is why a compost needs air.

Cats&Dogs
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Newbie here

We moved out into the country about 6 months ago and have started a garden. Now we want to get a compost heap going for next season. We considered wire, too, but my husband did some research and found that if it is not enclosed, it will attract mice and thus, fox (which we don't want near the house, due to our pets).

Is this a valid concern or am I just too paranoid? ;)

Thanks!

rot
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Critters can be a problem

..
Some folks don't have a problem with mice. Rats are disturbing to me.

Best to keep them out from the get go so they never form the habit.

I'm trying out wooden pallets with window screen. It largely keeps the squirrels out. I'm starting a new one where I'm more careful with the wind screen. We'll see.

Keep the attractive nuisance stuff, kitchen scraps and whatever, buried in the grass clippings and the leaves.

I've built my wooden pallet bins on pavers which keeps the burrowing rodents and the tree roots out. Excess water still drains, worms still find their way in. I can sweep up after turning. I recommend the pavers.

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Cats&Dogs
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Thanks Rot!

I have a feeling we may be just buying our compost from now on, although that seems like such a waste of money, but plastic compost heaps can get very expensive where we are and I think we need to keep the moles/voles/mice at bay.......to keep the fox, fox, fox away ;)

Drat.

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rainbowgardener
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You can build your own compost bins pretty inexpensively (or free if you are good at finding free materials on Freecycle) from wooden pallets, concrete blocks, used bricks, or whatever else you have access to.


Here's a site with plans for a variety of different kinds of homemade compost bins:

https://www3.uwm.edu/Dept/shwec/publications/cabinet/html/compost/Bin%20Plans.htm

You still want some air circulation, but it what ever kind of holes/vents you have for air can be screened to keep critters out.
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farmerlon
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Re: Newbie here

Cats&Dogs wrote:We moved out into the country about 6 months ago and have started a garden. Now we want to get a compost heap going for next season. We considered wire, too, but my husband did some research and found that if it is not enclosed, it will attract mice and thus, fox (which we don't want near the house, due to our pets).

Is this a valid concern or am I just too paranoid? ;)

Thanks!
From my experience, if you are putting the correct items into your compost, it will not be attractive to nuisance critters such as mice, rats, dogs, cats, and so forth.

There is a lot of info on this forum about mixing Greens and Browns, and such.
If your fruit/veggie waste (greens) is buried under, or mixed well with the brown materials, the pile is usually not appealing to nuisance animals.

Also, here are some things you definitely want to avoid placing in your compost: Dairy products, Fat (grease, lard, oil), meat and fish.

I do a lot of my composting in an open pile; and I have not had any issues with animals getting in it.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Newbie here

farmerlon wrote:
From my experience, if you are putting the correct items into your compost, it will not be attractive to nuisance critters such as mice, rats, dogs, cats, and so forth.

There is a lot of info on this forum about mixing Greens and Browns, and such.
If your fruit/veggie waste (greens) is buried under, or mixed well with the brown materials, the pile is usually not appealing to nuisance animals.

Also, here are some things you definitely want to avoid placing in your compost: Dairy products, Fat (grease, lard, oil), meat and fish.

I do a lot of my composting in an open pile; and I have not had any issues with animals getting in it.
Sorry, wish it were true... Depends on your area and your concentration of critters, I guess. My little wooded city wildlife sanctuary with raccoons, groundhogs, squirrels, mice, shrews, possums, I could NOT have an open pile.

I mix greens and browns, every time I put kitchen scraps in the pile I cover them with a big layer of weeds/leaves, I am a vegetarian, so there is no meat or fish in the house, much less in the compost pile. My compost bin is a wire grid. The spacing is close enough to keep the raccoons/ground hogs out. But I sometimes find the buried scraps unburied, so I know some kind of mouse/ shrew type creature gets in there. If it weren't in the bin with the top over it, no kitchen scraps would ever stay in there long enough to compost, due to the raccoons (etc, but especially the raccoons).

My pile is away from the house, so I just figure I'm drawing the mice/shrews away from the house instead of towards it.
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In the words of Captain Jack Sparrow, "I like it, simple, easy to remember." :lol:

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rainbowgardener
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So do I but I don't know what this is relevant to?
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