Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Post About Compost

I finally got some motivation this weekend and built a compost bin for the garden.  I pulled out some salvaged lumber and bought a few pieces from the hardware store and went at it.  I used outdoor wood screws instead of nails because I had a bunch leftover from when I built the raised beds.  I didn't follow any plans, but I didn't deviate far from the norm.

New compost bin.
The bin is 4 feet wide, 4 feet tall, and 3 feet deep.  I was going to build it 4 x 4 x 4, but then it would've been difficult to turn the compost in the back of the bin.  It also would've partially obstructed access to the nearby table.

Front view of the compost bin with slats partially removed.
I built two sets of guides to secure removable wood panels on the front.  The panels slide into the guides and stack on top of each other. I hope this will facilitate easy access to the finished product.  Here's a picture that should make more sense than my rambling description.

Guides for front panels of compost bin.
A few years ago my parents gave me a compost tumbler for Christmas.  The thing works great and produces really nice compost in a fairly short amount of time.  The only real drawback is the size of the unit.  It's not capable of producing large volumes of compost that I need in the new garden, hence why I built this large bin.  I plan on keeping the compost tumbler to produce smaller batches on the side and ultimately to store any extra compost from this large bin if I don't use it all at once.  Currently the compost tumbler is about half filled with a great batch of compost that will find its way into the garden in a few weeks.

New compost bin next to the compost tumbler.  Note the large difference in size.  
I read that it's a good idea to coat the wooden compost bin with a wood preservative or stain to prevent fast deterioration.  None of the wood is pressure treated and only some of it is rot-resistant hardwood. I would really like to get some feedback on what coating(s) others have used to seal wood in a compost bin.  I don't want it to deteriorate within a year or two.


Mr. H. said...

Very nice compost bin, I really like how you made the sliding panels. You might consider linseed oil as a safer preservative.

Rachel said...

I absolutely love the blog Dave! What a fantastic thing you are doing, very inspirational. You need to come to my house and tell me what I can grow and where because I'm severely limited, especially since my husband forbids any food gardens in the front yard!!

So glad you guys are doing well!

What Pigs Don't Know said...

You're a master carpenter & I didn't even know it! Thanks for the pictures of that bin. As for a preservative - I agree with Mr. H. Everything I've read says to use linseed oil - though I have never used it myself. -Carrie

.09 Acres said...

Mr. H., I'll definitely look into linseed oil. Thanks for a practical recommendation. Rachel, glad you enjoyed the blog. C'mon, I know we can talk your hubby into some edible landscaping in the front yard without encroaching on his grass and a full scale garden in the back. Carrie, what do you guys do for composting? If you want to check out a in-depth post about a local (southeast Va) composter, go to this blog.

What Pigs Don't Know said...

What do we do for composting? More like, what do we NOT do for composting! Check it:

Anonymous said...

Check out some worm towers. A great idea for letting the worms turn compost items into food right in the garden soil itself.

One site is:

I don't see why you need composting worms that must be protected from the cold. It would seem that local garden worms would work fine and survive cold winter weather without any fuss.


.09 Acres said...

I'm definitely interested in vermicomposting. Thanks for the link!

Palmetto Acres Garden said...

Super compost bin. The sliding panels are an awesome idea!