In the world of making things I’m your huckleberry. I constantly spy something and then think weeeelllll, that’s kind of expensive – I’ll make it. And so it goes. Let me ask you, have you seen the cost of soil lately? I mean really. I can make that! And so it goes…
Compost: a mixture of various decaying organic substances, as dead leaves or manure, used for fertilizing soil ~ dictionary.com
We outgrew our old composter. It was a good unit and I’ll move it up to the farmhouse garden but for the large market garden we want to have, the old one was a Tonka toy. We needed something BIG and robust. Send in the pallets! I just love pallets. A fact that you will see as we continue our journey together.
The system that I first built and tried out when we lived in Wisconsin was a single bin. But with the donkeys offerings and extra family – we need a four bin unit. At first I mistakenly situated it by our forest. Seemed a great place for it, until it wasn’t. The sun shifted and I was left with shady compost. Not ideal. Be sure to build your bin in a sunny area, you don’t want to have to move it like some people. *Ahem
A simple move to an area that will always have sun no matter what remedied this shady situation. It also created one side of our garden fence. That’s right… I’ve been keeping a secret. I plan to build my whole garden fence out of pallets! Remember, I’m a money saving DIY’er. How much more DIY can a pallet fence be? There’s more about this fence but I’m keeping that little secret tucked away for a later time.
Want to make your own pallet composter? It’s simple. For a single bin you’ll need:
- 3 *pallets
- 24″ zip ties or create your length with what you have on hand
- Landscape fabric (optional)
- Stapler & staples (if using landscape fabric)
*Before you collect your pallets be sure to look at this informative article about which pallets are safe to use.
You may have heard me mention bolts in the video. This system of fastening takes a bit more time and some extra materials. When I begin to assemble our garden fence, I will go into depth with the how to’s for bolting pallets together. For now, we are keeping it simple.
Stand your pallet so that the slats are vertical. Why? It makes your composter taller. Raise a second pallet to meet the first at the corner and fasten with zip ties at the top and lower area. Attach second side same as first. If you choose to use landscape fabric roll out and staple to the exterior of the pallet bin. I used scissors to trim the excess fabric.
Voila, you’re done! You can add to the bin or leave as a single one. You can also add a couple boards at the bottom to hold in your compost but this is also an option. I suggest you create another bin so that as one is running, you can start another batch of compost. Add chicken, rabbit, duck, cow, pig, guinea hen, donkey, horse (you get the idea) poo, leaves, grass clippings, twigs, kitchen waste, coffee grounds, loose leaf tea, straw, pine needles… the list goes on.
Need a little more help? Use this simple formula:
- Cat or Dog feces
- Glossy paper
- Sticky labels from fruits & veggies
- Charcoal briquette ash (you can add minimal wood ash)
- Any treated wood including sawdust from treated wood
- Diseased plants
You get the idea.
Still not sure how this will look? Check out the video! Build one and then stand back and realize you CAN make things… and so it goes.
Tip: if you really, really want to start composting but just can’t build a bin, no sweat! Grab a dark colored tarp or a few black trash bags. Lay one on the ground and pile your compost materials on top of the bag or tarp on the ground. Lay another bag or tarp over your materials. It will work!
Haven’t gotten enough dirt on soil? Check out these articles on soil amending or establishing your foundation.
Have you tried composting?
What a great idea! Haven’t been composting as much as I should. I went from a tumbler(crummy ) to one our trash service sells.
The tumblers are great for light users but we are BIG composters & this system is really rugged.