When we started our little 3 acre farm and garden back in 2010, we created our first DIY compost bins from a couple of salvaged pallets.
And then we got busy making compost. And lots of it!
When it comes to powering our plants, compost really is the star of the show. Without it, our garden simply wouldn’t be the same.
We mix it into every planting hole, whether in the garden or planting in the landscape. And that’s only the beginning!
We also use compost as a mulch around our vegetable plants, and to make our homemade compost tea, an amazing all-natural liquid fertilizer.
Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for us to outgrow those first little compost bins.
So a few years back, we set about creating what we hoped would be both a functional and attractive set of composting bins.
And of course we did so using our favorite inexpensive building material – ordinary 2x construction lumber.
How To Create The Perfect DIY Compost Bins On A Budget!
In order to create compost quickly, a pile needs to be big enough to generate and hold heat for decomposition. But it also needs to be small enough to be easily turned and maintained.
Without turning, a pile can take 2 to 3 times as long to decompose. See : How To Create The Perfect Compost Pile
A pile that is at least 3′ wide, 3′ high and 3′ deep creates the optimum mass needed for fast decomposition. And, at that size, the pile is still manageable to turn and mix with ease.
But in addition, a good compost pile should also have sufficient air flow as well. Much like turning, the air flow helps provide oxygen to propel decomposition.
Creating Single & Double Bins From Common Lumber
So with those two key aspects in mind, we created our DIY compost bins from common, inexpensive 2 x 6 and 2 x 4 lumber.
It’s vital to use untreated wood for the bins. And ordinary untreated framing lumber is the perfect material for just that purpose.
The last thing you want is to have harmful chemicals leaching into your organic compost!
For the front section, we created removable wood slats that can be easily slid into place as needed.
This way, as the pile grows, you can keep the space needed to turn the pile. But at the same time, they keep the pile’s front out of view when slid into place.
So what about that air flow? Well, the open slats on the side and back keep the pile breathing perfectly.
The Single Bin
Built with just (6) 2 x 6 x 12’s and a single 2 x 4 x 8′ board – the single compost bin is both economical and easy to build. (For those wanting step by step plans, the instant download plans ( both are included) are available here : DIY Compost Bin Plans.)
It is perfect for those that keep and maintain an ongoing pile for their garden and landscape.
The Double Bin
The double bin system is our personal favorite. It gives you the ability to have a finished pile on hand, all while starting an entirely new pile as well.
The double bin can be made from just (11) 2 x 6 x 12’s and a single 2 x 4 x 12′ board. At just a bit more cost in materials, it is a great solution for those with larger gardens and landscapes.
And perhaps best of all, with the thicker 2X construction, these bins keep on looking good and lasting for years.
Our bins are now going on their 5th year, and are still going strong.
We often get asked about staining or painting. The inside of our frames are left untreated to protect the compost.
We do however stain the exterior of the frame to match our barn. Since this area never touches the compost, we don’t have to worry about it finding it’s way into our compost.
Here is to building your own great compost pile this year – Happy Gardening! Jim and Mary
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