Thursday, 17 November 2016

Building A Wooden Pallet Compost Bin

 Wooden Pallet Compost Bin
 Wooden Pallet Compost Bin

Compost is a cornerstone of organic allotment growing - as I've stated before on this blog.

An allotment or garden should have at least one compost bin - and two, or even three even better.

If time or space do not yet allow - a simple compost heap is better than nothing.

You can then recycle weeds and the remains of crops back into the soil over time. Basic sustainability - weeds and crops take nutrients out of the ground, compost puts them back.

The advantage of having at least two bins is that one can be filled then left to rot down into good compost, while the second is filled day to day. Bin one can be emptied of compost when ready, the contents of bin two turned over into it and so the cycle starts again.

Composting Starts At Home
I have two compost bins in my garden at home.

This allows me to recycle kitchen and garden waste without having to transport it out to my allotment.

 Wooden Pallet Compost Bin
I also have three larger wooden bins on my allotment. I've constructed two of these from wooden pallets.

These are generally fairly easy to get for free if you ask around local businesses - they often have these hanging around and are glad to get rid of them.

 Wooden Pallet Compost Bin
The method of construction is fairly simple. You'll need four pallets, each roughly the same size, although they don't have to be identical. If possible - six wooden tree stakes, roughly one inch square and five feet in length. A roll of medium to heavy duty garden wire. Some fairly heavy duty cardboard in large sheets - old house removal boxes (which I used) or large cartons are ideal.

 Wooden Pallet Compost Bin
First choose a spot where the bins can fit on your plot, somewhere around the edges or corners is usually best. If you are only building one bin to start with, try to choose a spot where another will fit alongside in due course.

Think about it carefully because, while they can be moved later, it will be a major pain. Clear and level the chosen space as needed.

 Wooden Pallet Compost Bin
Starting with the pallet at the back, dig a trench about 6 inches deep, wide and long enough for the pallet to drop into. Place the pallet in the trench, then place wooden stakes in between the two faces of the pallet at either end. Hammer the stakes into the ground, deep enough to be secure. Get the pallet roughly level and vertical (you don't need to be 100% precise) then use wire to secure the pallet to the stakes. Back-fill the trench, again keeping the pallet as level and vertical as possible.

Repeat the above process for the two sides of the bin. Use additional lengths of wire to secure the three pallets together.

Line the three inside faces with cardboard, secured with wire and /or short galvanised nails.This will improve insulation, retain heat and so speed up composting.

Before adding the front pallet, load in any compost material that you already have.

Add the front pallet, dug into a trench, but you could leave out the stakes as it will make removing this side easier. You might want to remove the front later when you dig out the finished compost.

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