How To Make a Pallet Compost Bin?

In Brief: How To Make a Pallet Compost Bin

A compost bin allows you to neatly keep your compost in one place, making it far more sightly. One of the most popular choices when it comes to building a compost bin is pallets. They are great for the garden thanks to their hardiness, and they do not stick out. If you are a DIY enthusiast, you will enjoy constructing your pallet compost bin. This article describes how you can do it.

Compost is every gardener’s best friend. It gives you an alternative to using synthetic fertilizers on your crop, and it is also cheap and highly effective.

However, if your pile consists of many organic materials, it would be best to construct a compost bin. In this article, we’ll discuss how you can build a pallet compost bin at home, and we’ll discuss some of the benefits of compost.

Benefits Of Using Pallets To Make Your Compost Bin

Before we delve into how you can build a pallet compost bin, let’s discuss some benefits of using pallets for this project.

  • In most cases, pallets found in North America measure 40 by 80 inches, which is ideal for you to build a bin for your compost. Of course, pallets with other dimensions will work, too.
  • Another benefit is that pallets are relatively easy to find. This is even more true if you live in an area with many construction sites, a warehouse, or a loading dock. They will be more than glad to give you the pallets since, in most cases, these establishments pay to get rid of them.
Source: DIY Network

How To Make a Pallet Compost Bin

Now that you know the benefits of using pallets, let’s discuss making a compost bin from these materials.

You will need the following equipment for the project:

  • Electric drill
  • L-shaped brackets
  • Staple gun
  • Chicken wire
  • Utility knife or wire cutters
  • Decking screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Thick gloves to avoid splinters
  • 4 pallets of equal size for your first bin
  • Sharp wood saw
  • Hinges

After gathering all of these materials, you are now ready to start your project.

Procedure

Time needed: 2 hours.

A single person can execute this project, but it would be less of a hassle if you asked for help from a friend.
The steps are as follows:

  1. Assemble the frame

    Place three of the pallets on level ground to form a boxed structure.

    For maximum stability, make sure the pallets are in perfect alignment. For the compost to work, the ground must be porous, earth, or turf. Also, ensure it has a free-draining base.

  2. Secure your frame

    The second step is to secure the frame using decking screws.

    Assuming you are working alone, start by screwing the bottom corner to offer support to the pallet allowing you to proceed to the next stage.

    With the base of the frame secure, drill the bottom, middle, and top of each pallet to attach them firmly together.

  3. Add L-shaped brackets

    After securing your frame, add L-shaped brackets to the side of the bin frame for enhanced firmness.

    To avoid splitting the wood, pre-drill the holes. Your frame should not have less than 3 L-shaped brackets.

  4. Add a door (optional, but recommended)

    Using the fourth pallet, add a door to your structure. The door is crucial since it helps keep the contents of compost enclosed within the bin. It also prevents heat loss, giving you an efficient compost bin.

    Cut the pallet in half using a sharp wood saw. You should wear gloves for this task. After the cut, sand off the edge to make the door neat.

    Place the door over the frame and mark the places where you will fit the hinges. We recommend you fit them outside the frame to allow the door to swing outwards.

    After screwing on the hinges, screw on the door frame. It would be best if you raised the door an inch above the ground to make sure it can swing freely.

  5. Line the interior of the bin with chicken wire

    Lastly, line the compost bin with chicken wire.

    We recommend you line the interior. Attach the chicken wire to the interior surface using a staple gun.
    This lining gives you a neat compost bin and prevents organic materials from getting stuck in between the pallet spaces.

    If you are looking to build a large scale/multiple pallet compost bin, each additional bin will only require three pallets to construct.

    Attach additional frames to the side of the already completed one and repeat the process above.

    Here is a quick video showing you all of the steps to building your pallet compost bin.

Troubleshooting

After completing the structure, the next step will be to fill the bin with organic material. Add a mixture of browns (such as torn cardboard or dried grass) and greens (such as grass clippings).

The right balance of the two will deliver your desired results.

However, despite having a solid structure, your compost will not be efficient. This failure is usually a result of adding the wrong materials to your pile. These wrong materials include the following:

  • Insect-infested or diseased plants – These insects and pathogens may survive the decomposition process and end up in the plants you add the compost to.
  • Weeds with seed heads – The greens are okay for this pile. However, get rid of the seeds. These seeds may also survive the decomposition and end up growing in your garden after adding the compost.
  • Ash from a wood stove or fireplaces – A little ash is useful if you have acidic soil, but not so much if your soil is alkaline.
  • Ash from a charcoal barbecue This residue contains sulphur oxides and other harmful chemicals that are not ideal for your compost.
Source: Lawn Starter

Benefits Of a Garden Compost

With an excellent compost bin and the right organic material, your compost will decay in no time. Below are some of the benefits of using compost in your garden.

  • Introduces nutrients into the soil that are necessary for plant growth
  • Prevents erosion
  • Facilitates proper drainage and aeration in clay soil
  • Offers microorganisms and macroorganisms responsible for maintaining a healthy soil web with the required organic matter to feed them
  • Enhances soil structure
  • Attracts earthworms
  • Subdues soil-borne diseases and pests
  • Lessens soil compression
  • Slowly releases nutrients to the soil, which prevents leaching, as is the case with some synthetic fertilizers
  • Promotes nutrient and moisture retention in sandy soil

FAQs

What’s the best kind of wood pallet?

Choosing the right wood pallet ensures your structure is durable. Consider choosing a lighter colored wood, as it is less old, meaning it will take longer to rot. Ensure your pallet is not broken or missing a slat. Another crucial consideration is the way your pallet was treated. Check for the ‘HT’ stamp to ascertain the pallet was heat-treated for preservation.

Must I include a door in my compost bin?

It is recommended to fit your bin with a door, especially if you have a dog or kids. The door will prevent the dog or the kids from playing with the compost, thus interfering with the decomposition process. The door also keeps rodents away. Another advantage of the door is it prevents the loss of heat from your compost bin.
In conclusion, though not an absolutely mandatory feature to incorporate into your structure, the door will significantly improve the efficiency of the bin.

How can I accelerate the decomposition process for my compost?

The following actions will help speed up the decay process in your compost:
Turn the pile at least twice each week to supply the microbes with oxygen.
Chop or smack the organic matter you introduce to your pile into small pieces for faster decomposition.
Ensure the pile is moist. It should not be dripping wet, though.

Summary

A pallet is an excellent item to use for constructing a compost bin.

The structure is easy to set up, and it is durable, provided you carefully select the best wood pallet.

An ideal structure will provide the best environment for the decay process. Incorporating a door into your structure encloses the organic matter and heat within the bin.

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