Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A New Compost Bin……Finally

This past weekend we finally built another compost bin. The old one was made from wood and wire and the wood had rotted out. We were propping up the sides with various poles so the contents could remain contained in some way. A few weeks ago, a tree fell across the bin smashing the fragile wood even more. It was time for some drastic action.

One Side of the New Compost Bin

The result is a simple two-bin system made from some recycled poles and some recycled wire fencing, but it will work fine for our needs.

New Two Bin System

We assembled the new bin close to the old one so transferring the contents would be easy.

Old Bin

I don’t turn my compost pile very often. The only time it gets stirred up is a few times a year as I dig down to the bottom for finished compost to be used in the garden. The rest of the year, household and garden waste is pretty much just tossed in and piled on top.  Luckily, even though I don’t really tend to the compost pile, I still get to reap the rewards of the compost.

One side of the old bin contained mostly household and garden waste the other side was filled with shredded leaves from fall cleanups. Every once and a while, I would toss some shredded leaves on top of the contents of the other bin.

Sifting Compost

Starting fresh with a new bin gave me the opportunity to layer the contents from the old bin a little more efficiently. I sifted out some finished compost from the old bin and whatever was left was layered into the new bin along with alternating layers of shredded leaves and other dry garden waste.

Layering the Contents of the Compost

The sifted compost was added to the garden one wheelbarrow at a time. I got about halfway though one side of the old bin when I struck gold! Absolutely beautiful compost that didn’t even need sifting came out by shovelfuls.  These were all added to the garden to be spread out and tilled in next weekend.

Compost Added to the Garden

Hopefully the new bin is off to a good beginning.

Old Bin Empty and New Bin to the Right


  1. You compost like I do. Every year I think that I will be a good composter and turn the pile more ofter.....but, it never seems to happen!

  2. I used to turn my piles regularly, but haven't in a couple of years now. I compost the lazy way.

  3. I turn periodically but not regularly. Your finished compost is gorgeous!! I seriously need to build a new compost bin system...my wire bins are falling apart and look awful. Maybe that will be my summer project.

  4. We have a compost pile like yours with wire, but shaped like a rectangle. Totally on accident I found it was easier to turn. As the pile started settling I raked all of the compost to one side of the bin. After it settled a bit more I raked it to the other side. It made turning so much easier.

  5. Wow, that compost you got from the bottom is BEAUTIFUL! *That's* the stuff they tell us we're supposed to easily be able to get from all our compost piles/bins with "just a little maintenance" - and don't take into consideration all the too-tough sticks, wads of stuff that matt down, etc... Now I'm sure you'll take MUCH better care of the new compost area, right?!?! ;-)

  6. Robin: Luckily, compost happens. It just may take a little longer without turning.

    Daphne: I compost the lazy way as well. But I hope to do a better job now.

    Laura: The finished compost had to be several years old. It was in an area of the old bin that I couldn’t reach easily. The rest of the sifted compost still had some tomato skins that hadn’t decomposed yet, but it will be tilled into the garden.

    Peggi: That sounds like an easy way to get things mixed up again. I think I can do that too if I remove the fencing in between the two new bins.

    Jeph: Unfortunately in the past, the compost pile received very little attention from me. I hope to tend to it more often now that the bins are easier to work with. But….well….I guess we will see :)

  7. Very nice compost ya got there....In my experience, the wood just doesn't last very long until it needs replacing....

  8. Nice compost! My bin has turned into one big worm bin. But hey that works for me. I'm also getting a new three bin system (made out of pallets) put in at the Haven garden this weekend. I won't be there to see the project through but can't wait to see how it turns out.