Homemade Compost Bins

West Palm Beach, FL(Zone 10b)

Greetings, all:

First time posting in the composting forum, I think.

I am currently using an old plastic garbage can for a compost bin. It is a BEAR to turn that pile! I have to literally pour the entire thing out, mix it up, and shovel it all back in (which kills my back).

I'm thinking of constructing the wood and chicken wire compost bin (for which I need construction plans). However, I've seen those compost bins that are on stands that you turn - the bin is actually up in the air and you just 'flip' it around (which sounds like fun for the kids). I had someone offer to make one for me.....for 300 dollars.

My question to you all is - do any of you have construction plans for me to create a standing-up compost bin? I haven't turned my current pile in several weeks because of my back; I fear that most of the pile is anaerobic at this point.

thanks in advance.

North Ridgeville, OH(Zone 5b)

Welcome! It's nice to have you here.

What constraints are you working with? How big is the spot you've chosen to use for composting? How much compost do you need to make? What raw materials will you probably compost most often? Do you have any physical or health limitations that affect your ability to lift/flip/rotate heavy stuff?

Sacramento, CA(Zone 9a)

$300 bucks sounds like way too much money to spend on a composter. For that kind of money I'd rather just buy already made compost and just let my own yard waste decompose at its own rate.

North Ridgeville, OH(Zone 5b)

If ya wanna go the über cheap route, just bury what you've got & it'll compost in place. :)

West Palm Beach, FL(Zone 10b)

puddle pirate:

I have a bad back. not supposed to bend or lift too much.

I have an 11-foot stretch of fence I've claimed for composting. mostly dead grass, kitchen scraps, and some green materials.

North Ridgeville, OH(Zone 5b)

Well, the rotating bins can be a real &!%#$ to rotate when they get heavy, and they don't often turn out as much compost as advertised. Something like this might be easier to use: http://www.hgtv.com/landscaping/assembling-a-compost-bin/index.html

North Ridgeville, OH(Zone 5b)

This is what I use for my hot pile: http://brainshavings.com/gardening/2010/05/time-to-get-back-in-the-saddle.htm

West Palm Beach, FL(Zone 10b)

Quote from PuddlePirate :
Well, the rotating bins can be a real &!%#$ to rotate when they get heavy, and they don't often turn out as much compost as advertised. Something like this might be easier to use: http://www.hgtv.com/landscaping/assembling-a-compost-bin/index.html

Thanks for that link, PP, but the article doesn't say what brand bin it is for me to research.

Lodi, CA(Zone 9b)

PuddlePirate, I have 4 of those!! They went on clearance at Lowe's for $20. each! I scooped them up so fast and felt like I had stolen something!

Now that I'm in a smaller yard, and can't use them all.. I am using the frames for raised beds! Here is a picture before I filled them up..

edited to add.... I highly recommend the BioStacks for composting... holds more than you think!! Not back breaking to move, even when it's full.

This message was edited Apr 29, 2011 12:46 PM

Thumbnail by ZZsBabiez
North Ridgeville, OH(Zone 5b)

Oops! Those are Compost Corral Corners: http://www.composters.com/compost-bins/compost-corral-corners_97_1.php

West Palm Beach, FL(Zone 10b)

Wow! $175? bit outside my budget right now. but am bookmarking the site.

thanks again.

West Palm Beach, FL(Zone 10b)

hey, i found some darling plans at this website:


and here:

http://www3.uwm.edu/Dept/shwec/publications/cabinet/html/compost/Bin%20Plans.htm - check out their 'barrel' composter.

just found these - thought I'd give back since you all have helped me out so much.

will post under new thread titled 'free plans resources'


West Palm Beach, FL(Zone 10b)

I'm reading through these plans, and they're all calling for pressure-treated lumber. I'd think that you'd want natural pieces. Wouldn't the chemicals from the pressure treated wood leach through and go into the compost?

North Ridgeville, OH(Zone 5b)

You could substitute cedar for pressure-treated.

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

another way to go..instead of buying stuff for a compost set up..is just make a pile..
and if you have back problems..have a neighbourhood kid help u turn it 2 times a week..???
i guess depends on how big compost u want to make..and how much garden space u can devote to
the compost pile..
i make a huge compost every yr..
theres always some use for it somewhere..
good luck to you...

West Palm Beach, FL(Zone 10b)

I thought of just a pile, but hubby's put the nix on that. Also - uncertain about actual codes, but I think code enforcement in area wouldn't ticket me for compost bin, but if it were in the open, they may.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Some are concerned about older pressure treated wood and arsenic. I think new PT wood is copper? or something less scary.
But I used reclaimed PT wood becaue it had been on a deck for 20 years, and the amount of actual food I'm taking in from my garden is so small.

Saint Paul, MN(Zone 4a)

As for turning the pile, I have used a spiral bulb planter and a cordless drill. It brings the bottom to the top nicely.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

When my back doesn't want to bend and lift, I will drag a big pick through the pile. That pulls it apart and spreads it, then I can rake it back into shape, turning it somewhat in-side-out.

And if I don;t wnat to pull the pick head through the pile, I can drop the spike into it, and rock the handle back and forth, stirring and tumbling it around with leverage.

Low impact.

But then, my pile is very small.


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