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You know those projects you keep meaning to do, but never get to? That’s my compost bin. Last summer I decided that I wanted to start a garden and compost bin. It was too late in the season to start a garden then (I did it this year) but I wanted to get the compost bin up and running…
So much for that.
When spring came around I again started thinking about compost. Try not to be jealous of my exciting life. I searched and searched for how to set up my bin and had just about settled on a system using a garbage can, when I found an old pallet under our deck. Of course pallet upcycling is all the rage right now, so I started looking for ways to use it.
Sadly, the pallet I had was in no condition to build anything. What I discovered, however, is that pallets are literally everywhere. Go around to the back side of just about any store and you’ll find pallets next to the trash. In my case a local plant nursery puts their out on the street for anyone to take.
If you’re going to pick up pallets I definitely recommend laying a tarp down and bringing some good work gloves. I got a pretty nasty cut getting mine into the car.
The first step in the process is selecting a location. Mel Bartholomew, the founder of the Square Foot Gardening method, suggests placing your compost pile as close to your kitchen as you can stand. This will make it easier to get to and more likely that you’ll actually continue maintaining it. There are conflicting ideas about sun vs. shade, so I figured a spot with a little of both would be good.
Assembly is pretty easy, actually. Line up your pallets and screw them together with 2-3″ deck screws. That’s it. Because the compost will just be in a pile, not completely filling the bin, you don’t need a super strong structure. Really, the bin is there to contain the pile and keep it from being an eye sore.
Our finished bin is tucked behind our deck stairs. It gets some sun, but not a ton, it’s out of the way so we’re not staring at it, but being just behind the deck means we’ll be able to access it easily, even during the winter.
Because we have a dog and lots of local critters, I’ll be adding netting to the front to make sure the food doesn’t get eaten before it composts. I’ll keep you posted!