$10 Compost Bin

Recently when surfing my preferred site for all things Reel Mower: Clean Air Gardening I saw a reasonably priced wire composter that was wasy on the eyes. It was still $60, but it looked incredibly easy to make. So off to Menard’s I went with a rough idea of what I wanted. The following list will allow you to make 4, 15 cu ft bins for under $40 (yes you read that right!):

1 48″ x 50′ roll of 14 guage vinyl coated fencing ($26)
2 10′ pieces of 3/8″ rebar ($2 each)
1 roll of 2 mil black plastic and some zip ties to hold it on with ($5-10).

Assembly is child’s play!

1) Using tin snips, cut the fencing into pieces about 11-12′ long.
2) Using a hack saw, cut the rebar into 5′ pieces
3) Find a level spot at least 4′ square to place the bin.
Builder’s note: It is absolutely vital that this spot be level!
The wire has very little support so the weight of the compost material must vector straight down or your bin will literally fall over! It is not necessary to ask how I know this…
4) Form a large (about 4′ diameter) cylinder with the fencing and weave the rebar thru the seam to hold it together.
5) Using a blunt object of some sort (hammer, flat shovel, large rock-not your hand) pound the rebar into the ground to hold the bin steady while you fill it.
6) Wrap the black plastic around the bin and secure with a few zipties-careful that the fencing seam doesn’t tear the plastic.
7) Poke several dozen 2″ holes in the plastic to let the bin breathe-but not so many that too much light gets in to kill all the good bacteria. If you are Type A-cut pretty squares out to match the squares in the fencing. If you are a farmer living in a subdivision use your finger after you wrap it on.
8) Layer in all your favorite compostables in 2-4″ layers alternating carbon and nitrogen layers.
9) Go have some good beer with all the money you saved!

If you don’t need the extra capacity, and really want to save money-use the 40″ fencing-a 50′ roll was under $10 and after building the 48″ bins it looks like that extra 8″ is overkill. 44″ would be ideal if you can find it. The bins are pretty invisible, and should be easy to turn-just pull out the rebar, unwind and move the bin, and refill!

My only concern is the black plastic-if anyone can think of a more eco-rrific/reusable thing to use to block light and trap heat let me know! Landscape fabric would be more reusable and you wouldn’t need to poke any holes, but still seems wasteful.


3 Responses

  1. I wish I had seen this before I built my wood frame and chicken wire version. I tried to keep it simple, but it’s got nothing on this design.

    For whatever it’s worth, I don’t have any type of wrapping at all on mine. It’s probably slightly less effective because of it, but I’m letting the grass grow tall around three sides of it so maybe that will help. I had a similar setup at our last house, sans the tall grass. It was in the shade under our raised deck. It did a pretty good job.

  2. I opted for the landscape fabric-works great and makes the bins look more ‘suburban’ for the home owner’s association!

  3. […] So I spend alot of energy trying to literally build soils on site for my little Garden of Eatin. Year 1 had us going form over function as I struggled to plant an entire half acre by hand, including a […]

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