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Bin Wanting a Place for Your Compost?


Sorry to start of your day with a bad pun, but I’m guessing you’ll survive.

In any event, having a good supply of compost for your garden is very important for the health of your soil and therefore your veggies. Compost adds nutrients and releases them slowly and consistently to the plants, helps soil retain moisture, and helps encourage beneficial fungi, bacteria and insects in your soil.

Making compost is easy, but you need a place to do it, a composting bin. There are a lot of composting bins that you can buy, but most of them I don’t like. Generally they’re made of plastic (and why use plastic for your organic garden if you can avoid it- and you can) and are separated from the surrounding ground by that plastic. I want my compost to be forming on the ground so all of the worms and fungi and other compost-creating organisms can get into my compost pile.

There are compost bins you can buy that are basically cages that you can place on the ground and these are fine. However, I’m cheap and if I can build a compost bin for free (or very close to free) I will. Not to mention that if I can build this bin by recycling materials (and I can) that’s a bonus.

3-bin Composting System

3-bin Composting System

Attached are instructions and plans for building a 3-bin composting system out of wooden pallets. There are lots of businesses that get materials delivered on pallets and then they need to get rid of the pallets and often have to pay to do so. If you can help them get rid of some they will thank you. Always ask, though, before you take pallets, both because it’s polite and some places return pallets for a deposit so taking these pallets is really stealing.

The reason for having a 3-bin system is so 1 bin is always the one you’re adding new material to. When that one gets filled you move the material to the second bin for further composting and start again on the first. This movement mixes the compost (which is important in the process of making compost) and means you’re not adding new material to half completed compost. When the first bin fills up again, you move what’s in the second bin to the third, and the first to the second. By the time you need to do this again, the third bin should have completed compost in it and you just put that out in your garden.

As for placement of your bins, I recommend someplace convenient. I used to have my bins across my yard, behind my shed. It was quite and adventure going out there at night, when I usually thought about bringing my kitchen scraps to the bin and so I didn’t do it until my kitchen compost container was really full and smelly. Now my bins are at the edge of my deck and I empty my kitchen container regularly.

And no, the compost bins don’t smell bad and though I have seen the occasional possum or raccoon in the pile as a general rule the pile does not attract animals so having the bins close to the house is no problem.

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