Composting is probably one of the most familiar techniques of organic gardening. No wonder—it’s a great way to enrich the soil and make use of some of that garden debris that always collects as the season progresses. Composting just makes sense.
However, deciding to make compost is one thing, and coming up with a compost bin is another. Of course, you could just throw everything into a heap and turn it periodically, but wouldn’t you much rather keep the garden nice and tidy?
Seed catalogs often show pictures of handy bins, already manufactured and complete with handles to make turning the compost easy, but not all of us want to spend money on one of those.
So here’s a simple solution using materials you may already have on hand.
You Will Need
- 6 fence posts (either T-posts or wooden posts will work)*
- Wire and pliers, or fencing staples and hammer
- A 3′ x 3′ square piece of chicken wire (an extra 2 to 4 inches of length will make construction easier)**
- A 12′ length of 3′-high chicken wire (an extra 2 to 4 inches of length will make construction easier)**
* You can make do with just three fence posts if you attach the back of the composter to a fence as shown in the photo above.
** Use chicken wire with a 1-inch mesh or smaller for this project.
- Figure out where you want to put your composter and mark off a 6′ x 3′ rectangle on the ground.
- Drive in a fence post at each corner of the rectangle.
- Divide each 6′ side in half, driving in the two remaining fence posts to mark the midpoints.
- Fasten the square piece of chicken wire between these two middle fence posts.
- Wrap the long piece of chicken wire around all four corner posts, forming a back and two sides for the composter, but leaving the front open. Fasten into place.
- You’re ready to use your new composter!
Using the Composter
Use your homemade composter just like you would any other compost bin. Once you’ve collected enough compost to start turning the pile, you’ll learn firsthand the advantage of a two-bin style. All you have to do to turn your compost is shovel it from one bin to the next. Simple!