Making A Compost Bin From Wooden Pallets

Wooden pallets can be a quick, cost effective, and easy do-it-yourself way of building a compost bin made of pallets. Also, reusing wooden pallets is an environmental friendly way to put wooden pallets to use in and around your home.

Advantages of making a compost bin of wooden pallets

  • Wooden pallets are low cost, generally free given a little research and sweet talking. You may even have a couple laying around from your last couple of projects.
  • Wooden pallets which are in good condition, they can last for years, even without any sealer treatment.
  • A large capacity compost bin can be created in very little time, once the pallets and required supplies have been gathered.

Where to get wooden pallets?

  • If you don’t already have some wooden pallets available, local small businesses are the best place to look. Smaller companies occasionally get a few pallets and then have to figure out how to dispose of them and, therefore are often willing to let someone have the pallets if nicely asked.
  • Larger companies tend to have arrangements for the pickup of their pallets already, but there is no harm in asking.
  • Also, construction sites, usually, have a few stray pallets laying around which they generally happy to be rid of.

How to choose your Pallets?

  • Pallets should be undamaged, not overly weathered, and free of rot.
  • Pallets should be of the same length, width, and height.

What supplies will you need?


Four pallets will be needed for a single stand-alone compost bin. If you are going to make addition bins, which will share a wall with a previous bin, you will need three pallets for each additional compost bin. For example, two bin requires seven pallets; three compost bins requires ten pallets.
Enough heavy duty zip ties or enough heavy duty wire (e.g., baling wire) to bind the pallets. Approximately 15, 12 inches or longer heavy duty zip ties for a stand-alone compost bin and each additional compost bin.
A cleared, level spot for large enough the compost bins and to permit access to the compost bins to check, repair, fill, turn, and empty the bins. Be sure to consider the size of any equipment you may desire to have access to your compost bins; things like a yard tractor or a wheelbarrow.
Fence posts to provide additional support (optional). For a stand-alone compost bin, four sturdy metal posts, at least as tall as the pallet once driven into the ground. Three more fence posts for each additional compost bin. Over the years, I have found fence posts keep the pallets straight and upright.

How to Assemble you Compost Bin

  • If using fence posts for support, place you first corner post,
  • then attach the pallet securely with sturdy wire (like bailing wire) or zip ties to the fence post.
  • Proceed to the other end of the pallet and repeat the process adding the second pallet.
  • Then repeat the process the process to attach the third pallet.
  • While you are doing this you will want to make sure that each pallet is maintaining a 90 degree angle, so, your compost be in finishes as a proper square.
  • When you mount the the fourth pallet you will want to make it more like a gate, so, you have easy access to turn your compost pile and, eventually, to empty the compost bin. So, you can either secure in a way that you can easily open it or add hinges on one end and some form of a lock on the final end.

Working with wooden posts

  • If you would prefer to make your compost bin using wooden posts you will want to plant you wooden posts and secure your pallets with either nails or screws (which I strongly recommend) rather than tying the pallets in place. Nails have a habit of working loose.
  • Otherwise the process is essentially the same.

To Make a Multi-bin system

  • You can by using either side of the compost bin, as you face the gate and add three more pallets for the new bin.
  • Don’t forget to make the last pallet a gate, just like the first compost bin, and you will want it on the same side as your existing gate.
  • You simply, repeat the process for each additional bin you wish to add starting with the side of the existing compost bins, where you which to add the new compost bin.

Your compost bin is built, what now?

  • Once constructed, line the bottom with permeable a protective barrier to prevent grass and weeds from taking over your compost bins.
  • This permeable protective barrier can be a commercial landscape cloth or couple of layers of flattened cardboard boxes or several layers of newspaper work well for this purpose.
  • And begin adding your compost materials in layers, being sure to water to each layer.
  • Be sure to mix your ingredients and turn your compost bin regularly.

Related References

How Saving Eggshells Can Help Your Backyard Birds

Eggshell
Eggshell

Saving your eggshells and giving him a quick bake in the oven can help you while birds digestion. While birds have gizzards like chickens and usually pick up small stones to grind their food once it swallowed it. So, adding crushed eggshells to their feeders or scattering them loosely on a patch of bare ground can give them an additional source of small hard bits to help them render food. Additionally, it can provide a source of calcium for your wild birds.

Baking Eggshells

Baking eggshells to give to your birds is easy and takes only a few minutes. You need only:

  • to preheat your oven to 250°
  • place your eggshells on a tray. I usually line it with the lifts bit of aluminum foil to keep my baking tray clean to save on washing and the aluminum foil can be reused.
  • bake until the eggshells are thoroughly dry and brittle enough to crush easily with your hands once cool.

Placing Your Crushed Eggshells

as I previously mentioned, you can spread the eggshells on a patch of bare ground. You can also add them to your birdfeeders so that your birds can pick them up while they are eating any bird food you may provide be providing.

When To Give Your Birds Eggshells

you can give the baked and crushed eggshells to your birds year-round. However, spring is especially helpful is that at the time of the year when birds are laying eggs and can use an extra bit of calcium in addition to the grinding capabilities that eggshells provide. If you feel like you don’t have enough eggshells, then you may want to buy some crushed oyster shells which can be acquired from your local feed store or online and they serve the same purpose, even though they’re generally marketed for chickens, ducks and geese.

Related References

Recycling and Reuse – A simple example of the value – coffee can

New Coffee Container
New Coffee Container ($20.00)
Reused Coffee Container
Reused Coffee Container (Free)

How to save money through reuse

I think about recycling and reuse from time to time. Especially, when I’m making the morning coffee. We frequently reuse and repurpose useful items, so, here is a quick and simple example of the value of recycling, or in this case reuse, and how easy it can be.

Walking through the store this last week and noticed the new coffee container, and will round the last couple of pennies, for $20. And, it made me think of value and durability my old red coffee can in the kitchen, which has been in use (reused) for more than a decade at a cost of nothing. Originally, purchased for the coffee inside, we kept the can and began filling it with coffee from small bags. We have been using the can so long, that it’s even inherited a dent last year in the lid when something fell on it, but it still works and it doesn’t look that bad.

Related references

Bottle reused as a cupholder

Bottle reused as a cupholder
Bottle reused as a cupholder

Here is a simple and surprising recycle/reuse of a bottle. Recently, I went into the bathroom to discover that my wife had reused a bottle as a couple. These cups have been floating around the counter in the bathroom for literally years.  Well, no need to buy a cupholder.

While her approach is efficient and effective, I’m sure if you have children around this could be the perfect beautification arts and craft project with some string, some glues, and some paints, or any number of other materials.

Composting

What is Composting

I’m sure there are is a formal definition of composting, but to me, compost is really an organized approach to taking advantage of the natural process of decomposition to recycle organic materials and using the product of the process to aide my garden and yard. Composting can be accomplished on a scale as small or as large as may be needed, provided you have the space to do so.

Why Compost

the reason gardeners compost can vary as widely as the character of the gardener and maybe for a combination of reasons. Among the common reasons are;

  • Free dirt.
  • Soil amendment and improvement.
  • Recycling and not wanting to at the local landfill.

How Can Compost be Used

Compost is a  versatile material, which can be applied to your garden and yard. Among the more common uses of compost are:

  • As the soil amendment and fertilizer, where the compost is cultivated into the garden patch and/or bed to improve the soil nutrition and characteristics.
  • As much, we can be used to help retain ground moisture,  control weeds, and more.
  • As planting soil for new plantings in the landscape.
  • As seed starter soil in a greenhouse.

Where to place Your Compost Heap

If you’re going to start a compost pile or bin, please consider carefully where you place the compost heap. Consideration should be given to:

Local Regulations

If you live in a community ( urban or suburban parentheses), your local community may have some rules, regulations, and/or guidelines to which you may need to confirm.

Placement

Placement is important not only for you but for your neighbor, as well. You really don’t want the heap to attract unwanted guests (e.g. snails, slugs, bugs) into or near your home and vegetable garden. Also, even a well-groomed compost Heap may give off some older, which may not be appreciated in the patio, in the garden, or in the children’s play area and swing set. So, please be mindful in advance, it may save you from moving the compost heap later.

Convenience

Easy Access in good weather and bad will make your compost heap easy to use and keep you from collecting unwanted kitchen scraps longer than necessary.  Also, easy access to the compost heap with a hose or other convenient sources water may be helpful, as well.

Appearance

While compost heaps can be as simple as a pile of material, constructed of some old pallets secured together, or commercial bins, you really don’t want your compost heap to be an eyesore. So, you may need to camouflage the heap with a small section a privacy fence or shrubs.

How to Get Started

Getting started can be easy and does not require a lot of equipment. To get started you need to select your compost method, location, and items you desire to compost.  If you are starting with some occasional kitchen scraps, then a small pit in a future planting location or the bottom of a new newly constructed raised bed may be a good start. However, if you plan to start with more bulk items, such as green grass clippings, then you will want to build or acquire your compost bins in advance. At least two bins are recommended: One bin starting and/or current use and the second bin for finishing/emptying.

Useful Tools

Composting is simple and does not require a lot of tools. However, a few things are helpful.

  • A compost bucket or a sealed bucket for kitchen scraps is invaluable.
  • A potato fork for turning or emptying your compost bin is, also, useful.

Related References

Recycle and Repurposing in the Vegetable Garden

Repurpose, Reuse, Rethink, and Recycle
Repurpose, Reuse, Rethink, and Recycle

In these times of environmental sensitivity and focus on being earth-friendly, being green is everywhere is news and television programming.  While I’m no green fanatic, I have found that being green friendly and organic sort of goes with being a gardener.  Additionally, most of us, rarely, have tons of money to throw at our gardens and recycling and repurposing seems a logical derive some extra value from our garden and our purchases. Gardening is very amenable to getting a little extra value from those things that might otherwise be thrown away.

Perhaps the most obvious method of recycling is compost.  Compost, if handled properly, can allow you to use kitchen scraps and yard waste (e.g. grass clippings) to improve and maintain the garden soil.

Things that can be recycled in compost:

  • Ashes from a wood stove
  • Shredded office paper
  • Vegetable Kitchen scraps
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Fall leaves
  • Grass clippings
  • Fine wood chips and sawdust
  • Newspaper
  • Paper Egg Cartons

 

Shredded Office Paper Mulch
Shredded Office Paper Mulch

Things that can be Recycled as Mulch

  • Shredded office paper
  • Newspapers
  • Paper bags
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Coarse wood chips or shavings
  • Grass cutting (if not treated with herbicide)
  • Old straw or hay

Things that can be Recycled as Lines for Raised Beds

  • Scrap office paper
  • Newspapers
  • Paper bags
  • Cardboard boxes

Things that can be Recycled as Seed Starters

  • Reused cups from restaurants ( large drink containers)
  • Egg cartons
  • Paper milk boxes
  • Egg Shells
  • Plastic muffin or cupcake packages
Rotisserie Chicken Container Top Cloche
Rotisserie Chicken Container Top Cloche

Things that can be Repurposed as Cloches

  • Clear covers from rotisserie chicken containers.
  • Clear plastic ice cream containers
  • large glass or plastic jars bottles

Things that can be Repurposed Slug and Snail Traps

  • disposable aluminum or plastic trays from pies and cakes make ideal beer slug traps containers.

I’m sure there are many more opportunities to get more value in our garden for our household purposes or other community resources.

Related References