Step 1: Obtain Pallets and Hardware
You will need 4-6 pallets that are similar in size. Check the pallets for any nails that may be loose or sticking out.
A power drill, screw driver, hammer, 4-6 L brackets, 2 heavy duty strap hinges, wood screws, one gate hook and latch, cupboard handle/utility pull, and for your safety – gloves and safety glasses.
I purchased all the hardware needed for less than $20 at Home Depot. Optional is chicken wire and zip ties.
Step 2: Decide on a Location
The site should be level, and well drained. Situate it in a sunny spot, ideally facing south to trap solar heat.
Build over soil to take advantage of worms, beneficial microbes and other decomposers which might migrate up into your pile.
It is also a good idea to have it located convenient to a water source and your home.
Step 3: Assembling the frame
Fit the sides together. Save the nicest or sturdiest piece for the front as you will be using it like a fence gate. When you have the determined the order, hold two corners together while you pre-drill holes for your screws.
Hold your corner L brackets in place and drill your holes. You’ll want to place one bracket at the top and one at the bottom on the two back corners of your bin.
If you can’t afford brackets, I have seen people use zip ties to hold the pallets together.
Step 4: Installing the Strap Hinges
Once you have the three sides together you’ll install the front using the two strap hinges. Hold the front against the side and install the hinges.
I placed mine on the left side and I pre-drilled the holes before screwing on the hinges.
On the right side I installed a door handle and hook and latch, both are optional and you can use anything you have laying around for the handle and a bungee cord to hold your door shut if you prefer.
Chicken wire around the outside is also optional (attach with a staple gun) if you want to keep the critters out of your bin, but I’ve never had a problem with that.
Step 5: Compost Maintenance
Add leaves, grass clippings, coffee grounds, tea bags, egg shells, fruit and vegetable scraps to your compost bin.
Avoid adding meats, dairy and greasy foods which attract pests.
Using a pitch fork, turn your pile often to prevent tree roots from growing up into it and forming mats. Also oxygen is essential to the composting process.
After turning the pile water it if it seems dry. You can toss an old carpet on top of your pile to keep out the rain if it seems too wet and speed up the process.
For more composting ideas click here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Karyn Flynn is retired and spends her time gardening, raising bees, chickens, and propagating trees, shrubs and flowers for sale. She is also a life long crafter who enjoys working on projects with her grandchildren, currently it is fairy gardens, bird feeders, butterfly houses and solitary pollen bee nests.