Making a DIY Compost Bin
I love making a mess when I’m building things! 🙂
Hello! As you may know from my last Green Fingered goals update we’ve been doing a bit of work in the garden recently. Part of that was building a compost heap out of materials I found laying around the garden that would otherwise be thrown away. I thought I’d show you roughly how I went about building it to show you how easy it is to build something like this! You may not have the exact same materials laying around your garden, but the idea is just to be creative and use what you have! I am sure you can grab some old junk from friends or neighbours if you are lacking your own as well!
First things first though, why on Earth would you want to spend time building something that, let’s face it, looks a bit shabby, when you can buy a nice brand new composter like this (affiliate link 1) for just £24.99 including free delivery?!
- I like the idea of building something out of junk that would otherwise end up in land fill. OK it’s not going to save the world but there is a definite positive environmental benefit out of using what you have over consuming a new product from a store
- I like building things so it was fun and satisfying
- I learn some new skills that can be applied elsewhere around the house/in life
- It saved me a (very small) amount of money 🙂
Thinking ahead of my readers, who are used to me waffling on for far too long, I managed to document most of the process in pictures! The rest of the post will go through the steps pictorially with a few words of explanation if needed. Enjoy!
Building a home made composter – a photographical guide!
1. This is just some of the junk in my back yard. I just liked the pic as there is some snow on the ground 🙂
2. The materials close up. Basically it consists of an old trampoline I took down soon after we moved in. I figured I could use the metal poles as, well poles, and the trampoline netting as the siding
3. Clearing a space – I found a little corner and made sure there was mud below for the worms to come up through and eat all the compostable materials
4. This climbing plant cross hatching was falling down so I yanked it all off and thought I might be able to use the wood to hold two of the poles together
5. Hurrah! It worked! However later on I decided that it looked too high and just went with the one pole height
6. Cutting out a square of the trampoline “bounce area” to wrap around the poles, to create the walls of the DIY composter
7. The start of my glueing woes. I found some old silicone gel, it had gone solid, you can see the shape of the nozzle made of hardened silicon centre right, and then I cut open the tube to see what the rest looked like. It was really weird, like a rubbery yet strangely tough cylinder! Unfortunately I couldn’t think of a use for such an object, so it went in the bin!
8. I found some old bits of wood to make a base to fix the poles into. Any ideas on what to do with a load of old springs? Seems a waste to chuck them away… all of that stored up potential energy! 🙂
Also please note my manly pink workbench!
9. Glueing woes continue… Yes I actually tried super glue. Not that surprisingly it didn’t work! After that I then tried normal (no more nails style) white glue which worked much better, but not well enough. I ended up just threading some very thin metal wiring (again that was laying around the garden) through the trampoline material which worked a treat! I don’t know why I just didn’t do that in the first place!
10. Hammering a big nail into a bit of wood. I let out a few Tim Allen style Arrghugh ugh hhhugh’s whilst doing this. Leaning the base up against the fence post to steady it whilst hammering was a particularly good idea, I would recommend it if you ever have to hammer a nail into something of a similarly awkward nature!
The bit of wood I am hammering into it here is for the metal posts to sit on, so it will keep them in place. I cut them into shape with a cheap jigsaw I got about 4 years ago
11. The base of the composter is in, and covered with mud. You can just see the piece of wood underneath the right hand pole holding it in place. I added in some bricks to hold the mud in place
11. I wrapped the trampoline material around the poles and basically that was job done! I also moved the bricks up closer to the edge and piled on some extra mud around it to create a better seal because there were gaps and the compostable materials would have fallen through
12. The finishing touch – You need a lid for your composter! Apparently a piece of tarpaulin or old carpet are fine, so I found an old bit of carpet laying around and cut it to size
And there you have it! As I mentioned… it doesn’t look all that pretty but it should do the job and that’s all that matters to me. I’ve never done any composting before so if it turns out I need something bigger in future I can always build a bigger one (maybe out of pallets!?) but for my first go it will easily suffice.
Total cost to me apart from my time was about £1 worth of nails 🙂
More Composting Resources
I found the following articles useful whilst researching composting:
Composting 101 Info Graphic – A great infographic telling you what to and what not to chuck in the compost bin! (Also has instructions on making a compost bin out of an old bin)
How to build a compost bin – Not only shows how to make a compost bin out of wood, but has some great tips at the bottom for successful composting
A great FAQ on composting – excellent for beginners like myself!
How to build a compost bin – Another lovely pictorial guide very similar to the one you’ve just read. Although this one actually looks really nice at the end of it 🙂
DIY worm compost bin – Apparently wormery compost bins are da shiznit (literally I guess!) when it comes to composting as the worms speed up decomposition. Here is a guide on how to make one out of a few plastic containers! You can keep this inside as well if you are lacking space for an external compost bin.
Gardening with recycled materials – Some great ideas on how to put stuff you have laying around in the garden to productive use and save it from the landfill!
Trench Composting – Composting sans bin!?!?! A few resources I found said this was an easy way to get into composting but I have to say I gave it a go and a fox or similar small mammal came and dug the bloody stuff up. So I’ll stick with the bin going forward!
Any other composting tips from the old garden hands out there? Any other DIY garden success stories!? Did you manage to make something that looks nicer than my monstrosity!? 🙂
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