Gardening has always been a treasured pastime among Americans. We try to reduce our impact on the environment, locally sourcing produce and flowers has become more popular. If “farm-to-table” fresh appeals to you, then “garden-to-table” sounds even better. If you want to grow strong and healthy plants, one of the biggest keys is nutrient-rich compost. Here are the steps to build your own compost holder.
- Choose the right location. Your bin should be close enough to the house that you will actually use it, but far enough that you won’t smell it on hot summer days. You want it close to the garden areas as well to make distribution easier. There should be air flow to help the process happen, so don’t build it in a corner where two sides are blocked. You eed partial sun and access to water. Consider keeping distance between the bin and any structures that might rot, like fencing or garage siding.
- Select materials. If you’re interested in composting, you likely have an appreciation for recycling. Your bin construction can take advantage of free wood pallets. They have a sturdy structure, open spaces between boards for air flow and are made of untreated wood. Treated wood has chemicals which can leak into your compost and then into your plants. Pick up four pallets (clean up any loose fasteners), L brackets (at least two per corner), a set of heavy duty hinges, an easy to operate latch and high-quality construction fasteners, like SCRAIL®.
- Build a U. Set two pallets on their ends with the slats running horizontally. Secure them at the corners with L brackets, at least one at the top and the bottom. Repeat for the third wall as well. You now have the main structure of your bin.
- Add a door. Secure the fourth pallet (this should be your sturdiest one) to one wall with the hinges. This will act as a gate that can be opened for adding and removing, and shut when not in use.
- Lock it up. Add your latch to the opposite side of the pallet door to ensure your door stays shut.
- Critter protection. If you have small animals that may be overly eager to get some of your compost, you can staple chicken wire around the bottom exterior of your bin.
- Add ingredients. If you want nutrient-rich compost to come out, you need to be mindful of what you put in. It’s not a trash heap. Grass clippings (if not treated with chemicals) and shredded fall leaves are always good. Kitchen scraps like coffee grounds, tea bags, broken up egg shells, fruit and vegetable scraps are great additions as well. Don’t add fats, pet droppings or animal products. They will attract pests to the pile and can spread disease.
In 4-8 weeks, you’ll have heaps of nutrient-rich matter to help bolster your gardening efforts. When building your compost holder use materials that were built to last. Fasteners from FASCO America® will install like a nail but have the holding power of a screw. They’ll ensure your compost holder lasts for years to come.