Compost is the cheapest and most versatile product you could ever use in your garden. The only thing a compost heap requires is waste: left-over vegetable scraps, lawn clippings, coffee grinds and tea leaves, garden prunings and weeds – items that you would have normally thrown in the bin anyway. Instead of wasting this great recyclable, organic material start to consider how to build your own compost bins that work for you and your lifestyle.
As you were going to discard this waste anyway, why not turn them into nutrient rich compost that you can use to mulch and fertilise your garden? Composting isn’t a hard process and there are a few methods to achieve it that require varying levels of physical exertion.
There are many compost bins on the market that allow you to just drop the waste in and within a short space of time (and very little physical activity) reap the reward of rich compost. These come as compost tumblers which require regular rotation, self-standing compost cones and even little kitchen composters that work on your kitchen waste alone.
Compost Bin Plans
While these are all great products they generally make less than the 3 bin method which I shall explain further…
The picture above is a great depiction of how the system works. You start one bin by filling it full of all the composting waste materials, adding manures to aid in the growth of micro-organisms and keeping it moist to allow the process to work over time. This image is using an annual cycle but the compost can be sped up considerably by turning it over. The annual method doesn’t require turning until the end whereas if you want compost within 4-6 weeks you will need to exert some physical activity.
You will notice in Image (A) that the three bins are all connected and separated with mesh. The reason for this is airflow which will assist in the composting time. You can use other materials instead of wire for this including a heavy duty gauze, perforated wood slats and even bricks that have been separated enough to allow air throw.
The top of Image (A) shows a board running the full length of the three compost bins. This is a great idea as it allows you to hinge lids to your bins to keep out flies and other insects.
Image (B) is for the bottom of the bins and allows you to place timber over this as a floor for your compost. I’d prefer to leave this out and just compost directly onto the soil allowing for worms to enter and retreat from the pile.
Image (C) shows the spacing between the side posts and side walls allowing a gap for boards to be added and removed from the front of the compost bin. It would be cheaper and easier to use hay bales to help keep the warmth in the bins but if these aren’t available, or you prefer to keep your bins looking neat then use the boards.
When building your composting bins use materials that will stand up to some heavy duty knocks and also the elements. This way you can ensure that your bins will be useful for many years.