Before building a compost bin, decide what you need. One bin or three? Three-bin systems are popular. You can connect the bins, or line them up individually.
Some people use the three bins for different types of compost (regularcompost, slow compost such as woody plants, and leaves collected in the fall). Other people use a three-bin system for turning purposes, moving thecompost from one bin into the next to turn the compost, then starting a new pile in the empty bin. By the time the compost reaches the third bin, it is ready for use. Or you may prefer a single bin, and just stir the compostaround occasionally.
Next, decide what materials to use for building a compost bin. Some exposure to the elements is needed for more effective and quicker composting. Do not use chicken wire for compost bins because the wire can easily stretch out of shape and does not wear well. Materials like 16-guage plastic-coated wire mesh and hardware cloth are better choices, as is hog wire.
You can use wood for a compost bin, but remember that the wood eventually composts itself and needs to be replaced. Do not used pressure-treated wood, because it has toxic levels of copper and chromium, and may leak arsenic into your compost.
One of the easiest and cheapest ways to build a compost bin is to use wooden pallets. Most warehouses, grocery, and hardware stores give pallets away for free, or very cheap, to save the trouble of discarding them. You can use plastic ties to hold four pallets together in a box formation. Adding another bin to create a system is easy: just attach three more pallets using one side of the already-made bin to complete another box.
A cinder block or brick bin is also easy and cheap to build. If you visit a demolition or construction site, you can find the materials you need readily available. Simply ask for permission to take them. Create a square enclosure by stacking the blocks or bricks on top of each other. Make sure you leave space between the blocks for ventilation.
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