The time has finally come when my 5 gallon compost buckets can hold no more. They were only meant to be a quick and easy starting point into the world of composting; a gateway drug, I suppose. But with my mother here for the past month and the garden actually producing garden waste, the buckets are severely overstuffed. That means anaerobic decomposition (the icky, oozy, smelly kind) because not enough air can get in.
Over the past months, I have found many interesting compost bin designs on Pinterest (here, here,and here), but I am not a very capable builder yet. I’m not comfortable trying to cut and drill and screw. So I decided to ventured into the world of DIY pallet projects.
Where to Get Pallets
Building a compost bin with pallets seemed like the best way to avoid most of the cutting, drilling and screwing. But where can you get pallets? I heard that local small businesses were the best place to look as larger companies already have arrangements for the pickup of their pallets. So I decided to ask the Facilities coordinator at my own company. Lo and behold we did have pallets, and it was actually one of his goals for the next month to try to get rid of them!
I ended up being even more fortunate, though, as my family is in the midst of major construction on our house. Part of this construction was building a retaining wall. So there were pallets of retaining wall blocks in our side yard. They were in really good shape and all uniform, so I asked to keep 4 of them.
I found a way to construct a compost bin using only these 4 pallets and 12″ heavy duty zipties!
Step by Step Instructions
The hardest part was leveling the dirt in the spot I wanted to put the compost bin.
Start by attaching two pallets together with the zipties to form a 90 degree angle (thread the end of one ziptie into a second ziptie to make them long enough to wrap through both pallets.)
Continue doing this for the other side of the bin:
Attach the front pallet to only one side as you will have to be able to swing it open. I found that I could still attach it rather tightly with the zipties and it would still be able to swing open.
And that’s it for the bin itself. After constructing the compost bin, I started it with a layer of shredded cardboard, then a layer with the contents of my 5 gallon buckets, then some additional fresh garden waste (overgrown arugula and lettuce plants), a thin layer of dirt, a bit more shredded cardboard, and then I watered it.
All of that barely filled up the bottom of the new bin! I am ready to turn my pile ever week and am excited to see how this new composting adventure goes! I hope this is helpful to anyone thinking of building a compost bin.