Wednesday, July 31, 2013

How to Build A Composting Bin from Pallets

This weekend Ben and I built a composting bin for our future garden from recycled pallets.  It was important for us to build this first, as it can take several months for the compost to be ready to use and we are still working out the details for our garden beds.

We had already set aside this area to be our composting area, marking it off with garden borders we found in our backyard.  It will be in the back area of the already designated garden section.

We then went driving around town to rescue some pallets.  When we came home we positioned them the way we thought they'd work best.  We used the plans from Organic Gardening as our guide, but totally winged it.

Ben removed some of the slats.  (Compost needs to breathe, so we just removed the middle slats.)  Then he held the pallets together using clamps and nailed them together.

Some of the wood was difficult to hammer into, so Ben pre-drilled the holes.  By the way, we made sure to only use the solid wood pallets, we had also found particle board pallets but weren't sure how the glue/chemicals in them would affect our compost so we chose not to use that wood.

Ben added strips of wood to the openings so that we can eventually create sliding doors in the front.  These will be useful as the compost pile grows and for keeping critters out.

We then stapled wire mesh over all the openings, again to keep the compost from falling out and the critters from getting in.  FYI this is a two person job, the wire can be sharp so make sure to wear gloves and have a partner help hold it while you cut and staple.

That was it, super easy and very cheap!  As we find more pallets we'll add those panels to the front and possibly make lids for the bins too.  For now they are ready to be put into action!

Can you see them?  They are in the bottom left corner behind the small lime tree.  The idea was to keep them tucked away; as compost is not the most attractive of things...  In the end it looks like a big pile of dirt, but we're at the beginning with lots of yard and kitchen scraps so keeping them hidden is a good idea.

We also added a small composter to our kitchen, so we wouldn't have to make trips to the garden every time we had something.

It is awesome how much stuff we're able to add it!

Do you compost for your garden?  This is our first time, so we'd love to hear any tips you have to share!


  1. Yes, I compost. I'm part of a team developing a local organic community garden. We recently had good luck with making compost tea for our plants. We're experimenting with sheet composting as well. Good luck with your new bins. You did a nice job constructing them.

    1. Thank you so much! I love when communities have gardens where everyone can participate, it's great that your developing one! I've thought about making compost tea too, Martha Stewart used to rave about it on her show, but I've never heard of sheet composting though, I'll be googling that! :)


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