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The One Where We Started to Compost

Jess and I have always done what we could to teach our kids about taking care of the environment and sustainability. Hence the chicken coop, rain barrel, garden, electric vehicle, etc.

We also included a compost bin. After a lot of reading we elected for a dual box configuration which will allow us to rotate the compost reducing the amount of time it takes to become usable. We also used slats with a small gap for the walls to allow oxygen to flow through.

Always one for minimizing waste and cost, I found these cedar fence boards. Cedar is naturally bug and rot resistant which is why I prefer it for outdoor applications like planters. They are 6 feet long so I cut them all in half giving me several 3′ pieces. I also used 2×2 boards for the posts. 8′ boards gave me 4 foot pieces so the bottoms are actually embedded into the ground 12″.

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Each “wall” is basically a 2×2 in the corner with 6 slats attached horizontally with outdoor wood screws. A few minutes and my screw gun was all it took. The idea with the 2 compartments is everything will initially go into the left bin. After a few months, I will rotate all of that over to the right bin which puts the newer stuff on bottom and older stuff on top.

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Lesson learned for this project: I cut the bottoms of the 2×2 posts with a 45 degree angle using my miter saw (my third most favorite tool I have. Can you name 1 and 2?). Initially I tried just driving the walls into the ground using a mallet, however the tough ground, rocks, etc. caused the boards to go in at an angle which started to pull the horizontal boards apart.

I stopped that plan, pulled everything out, dug holes, installed them again, then filled the holes. Worked great. Once I had all the walls in place I built lids by attaching 6 slats to some 2×2’s and installed them to the bins using hinges. I also decided to raise the back a couple of inches which will encourage any water to run off. Although I’m not concerned about water proofing on this project, I didn’t want it running back into the shop wall.

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Here is the best part of this project: The front slats are not permanently attached. They literally slide down between a couple of 2×2’s on each side. And each slat has two nails with the head’s extended a half an inch which forces the gap. What this means is that when I am ready to rotate or empty the bin, I can pull the slats in the front out and have easy shovel access.

This bin works really well. Although we don’t put nearly as much food scraps in as we should, I put a lot of grass clippings and “used” wood shavings from the coop in. Each spring I have almost a full cubic yard of amazing compost for our garden.

 


Here are some of the tools and supplies I used in this project. If you are interested in one, take a look. You get a fun product, I get a fun commission. Thanks!

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