Quick Pallet Compost Bin

My pallet compost bin is a success!

After the utter failure of the earthworm composting, I’ve been trying to decide on the best way to produce compost. That I would somehow be producing compost was never in doubt.

  • We produce huge amounts of vegetable parings, paper, cardboard and other compostable waste
  • I need huge amounts of compost to amend my mostly-sand soil
  • I’m very over driving to the hardware store and paying $4 per bag for composted cow manure, and then throwing away each plastic bag
  • Composting here on site closes that waste cycle
  • A truckload of composted manure is $300, which is the least wasteful way to get compost, but that’s 2 months’ garden budget and there are so many plants.

So over the weekend my older son and I successfully liberated 6 not-too-ratty pallets, watched at least 5 you-tube videos on constructing pallet compost bins, and bought $30 worth of what I hoped would be the correct hardware. My younger son and I drove out to a friendly horse farm in Melrose that sells horse manure in big feed bags for $1 each. We filled our little CRV with 9 bags of fresh horse manure and drove the whole way home with all the windows wide open to blow out the countless roaches and fruit flies, blasting music and singing at the tops of our lungs.

Sunday afternoon we finally got together to build the darn thing. We cleared the spot I had picked out, against the garden shed in the very back of the yard, sheltered from the neighbors but still getting a bit of sun. Every construction project requires at least two trips to the hardware store of course, so we had to run to the hardware store once again for L-brackets. Once we had the correct hardware the whole thing went together in less than an hour. My husband saved us from a lot of unnecessary grief and frustration by realizing that the 6th pallet couldn’t be hung with the hinges I bought before we even started drilling holes, so the “door” is held in place with a handy concrete block.

Then it was time to fill the first bin. After our first failed attempt at earthworm composting, my husband was understandably hesitant to try composting again on a much larger scale, so I gave everyone the “Intro to Hot Composting” lecture as we dumped alternating bags of fresh horse manure and chicken-manured wood shavings into the pile, mixed with sprinklings of kitchen waste and topped with damp shredded cardboard.

I am still giddy about my new compost bin. Finally I will be producing my own compost. I feel like a real gardener now.

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