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Organic Gardening? Here's a Simple Compost Bin Plan.
by Chip Phelan

Making a compost bin for your organic garden doesn't have to cost you a lot of money. Check out this article with compost bin plans for your organic garden... made with pallets! Compost tumblers might be quick but this method is cheap and it works.

Compost is a dark, crumbly mixture of decomposed recycled organic matter. This could be comprised of kitchen scraps, grass clippings, leaves and other plant materials. Even a novice can make good quality compost. Like good cooking, composting is part science, part art. Some organic gardeners are satisfied with a compost pile in a sunny corner of the yard while others prefer a compost bin or compost tumbler. If you live in close proximity to your neighbors, check your local codes to see if compost containers need to be covered.

While compost tumblers offer the fastest results, if you have a large garden you may want to make your own compost bin. These free compost bin plans will help you build a suitable low cost composting system.

Free Compost Bin Plans for you Organic Garden

I like to use three compost bins made from recycled wooden pallets. Pallets are used to transport all kinds of things including garden supplies. If your local garden supply store wonít let you have pallets for free, look around. Iím sure you can find someone who would be happy to get rid of them. You will need at least three and preferably seven pallets for your composting bin, so you might need to make a few trips or find a friend with a pickup truck if you donít have one.

Compost piles trap heat generated by the activity of millions of microorganisms. A 3-foot by 3-foot by 3-foot compost pile is considered a minimum size for hot, fast composting. Compost piles wider or taller than 5 feet don't allow enough air to reach the microorganisms at the center. For this reason pallets make just the right size for constructing a compost bin.

A commercial composting bin or compost tumbler will attain a higher temperature with a smaller mass because they are covered and usually made of, heat absorbing, black plastic.

To construct a compost box out of pallets: Place three pallets at right angles to form a three sided box with the open side facing the direction you want to access the compost bin from. A sunny location is the best for optimum performance.

Fasten the sides together with deck screws and angle brackets (two per side, top and bottom). Attach a 1X6 or a couple of pieces of 1X4 strapping across the bottom of the open side to hold the box together.  You now have a fully functioning compost bin.

To add more composting bins, attach two more pallets using the right side pallet of the first box as the left side pallet for the new box or vice versa. In any case you should now have a structure resembling the letter m. I like to work with three sections for my composting system. These provide me with enough compost for about 200 sq ft of raised bed vegetable gardens, and about a dozen container gardens.

With the proper ingredients, if you layer your compost and keep it moist and aerated, you should have useable compost from a pile started in the spring by the following fall even without much turning. Likewise a pile started in the fall will be ready for the following growing season. By contrast a compost tumbler can produce usable compost in a matter of weeks.

Anything that was once alive will naturally decompose. However, some organic wastes should not be composted at home.

The following all are good ingredients to use in your compost: grass clippings, leaves, plant stalks, hedge trimmings, old potting soil, twigs, annual weeds without seed heads, vegetable scraps, coffee filters, and tea bags.

As Featured On Ezine ArticlesChip Phelan, a contributing editor for Organic Gardening Review, is an organic gardener living in Rhode Island. He has been gardening organically for 30 years while working as a sculptor and photo imager. He has recently created a research garden to experiment with organic and small scale sustainable gardening techniques.

Organic Gardening Review is a resource center for organic gardening enthusiasts and features his efforts and interests in all aspects of organic gardening. Find us on the web: www.organic-gardening-review.com


Looking for a place to share organic gardening info? Visit our Organic Gardening Discussion Forum at: Organic Gardening Forum.



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