Friday, November 16, 2012
Constructing Compost Bins
CJ here again to report on the status of the 3-bin compost system at Sanderlin Peace Patch Garden. We finally gathered enough wooden pallets. It was critical to have 10 pallets all the same size and in fairly good condition.
I started by laying 3 pallets on level ground near where the old bin was located. These pallets formed the floor of the bins. I oriented them with slats running vertically so that a shovel could more easily slide along them without getting hung up.
Next, I erected the sides and backs of each bin and loosely zip-tied them together until I could get them all into the general shape of the bin. The top side of the pallets should face the insides of the bin so that the compost doesn’t escape. I filled in any large gaps between slats with slats that I salvaged from an extra pallet.
I found heavy duty zip-ties in the electrical section at Home Depot. The zip-ties were about 18 inches long and worked great to secure the bins. I drilled holes in the top and bottom corners of each side pallet. This allowed me to zip-tie each side pallet to an adjacent pallet. I also zip-tied the front edge of each side pallet to the bottom pallet.
After that I cut the excess tails off. Originally, I was planning on using screws and metal plates to strengthen the bins but the zip-ties worked so well the screws were not needed. I may decide later to reinforce the front edge of the pallets with a metal rod if the bins start to bulge out when fully loaded but for now they seemed sturdy enough!
Eureka! The final 3-bin compost system turned out great! I am very happy with the finished product.
My next step is to design some educational signs that will explain how to best use the 3-bin system.