I mentioned in my last post that the #1 project currently on my list is to build a new composter. Our pallet bins are falling apart, and it is high time for a replacement. We want to locate the new ones on a concrete pad on the north side of the shop building that a previous owner used for a dog pen. Of course there are both pros and cons to siting the bins on concrete, but after much consideration it seemed like the best place for us. The area needs a little cleanup before we turn it into a composting center, and it also looks like the siding could use a good power washing while we’re at it! Doesn’t it seem like one project always leads to another?
The trash cans in the above photo are where I put finished compost to store before using. As for putting the bins on concrete, I always add a shovel of old compost to each layer as I am building a new pile anyway, so I don’t think the materials will suffer from a lack of microorganisms. I do think sometimes the experts make composting sound a lot more complicated than it needs be. I always say ‘compost happens’, and in my experience it usually does! I know that seepage from the pile may stain concrete or decking material, but in our case the concrete isn’t exactly pristine to start with, and any rain runoff will easily drain into the yard. Frankly, I think that a homemade cedar composter will be an improvement in how the area looks, plus the bins will be closer to the house than the current ones.
I came up with a plan over the weekend, worked up a material list and headed off to the lumber yard this morning. It has been a while since I last bought lumber, and I had a bit of sticker shock when the sales clerk totaled up the bill. In this case, $500 bought some lovely rough sawn red cedar, enough for a two bin composter that will be 8ft long, 4ft deep and 4ft tall. I also plan to fashion a removable lid for the bins. I’m using 4x4s for upright support posts, and 1x8s for the sides.
I hope to begin work on it tomorrow morning. I will have to work early in the day, before it heats up, so it will take a few days to complete. My try square might be a little rusty, but I am really looking forward to this project. After construction is finished I will move the contents of the current pallet compost bins, which will take a little effort to be sure. But with any luck, by this time next week we’ll have a brand new composter! I’ll be back later with more photos when it’s all operational.
Wood projects are so expensive, aren’t they? I’ve thought about putting up a nice composter. Or at least decorating the front of it nicely. I used to have reed fencing to shield it from view, but that didn’t last long.
Some cedar bins are going to look nice there. I won’t be getting rid of my cheapo bins anytime soon. They may be ugly, but they’re off on the far side of my garden where I don’t see them from the house and I like the flexibility of putting them up or moving them easily. If I had to see them all the time I would want something more attractive. I set mine on top of a root barrier fabric and hardware cloth so there’s not much contact with the soil and it doesn’t make any difference in the finished product.
I know what you mean about sticker shock. I decided to use regular dimensional lumber instead of cedar for the raised beds and I was surprised that I was still looking at a couple of hundred dollars for a few beds.
I always find that one project leads to another – it’s a rare project that’s as straight forward as “want to do it – do it – done”. Can’t wait to see your deluxe bins when they are finished!
I was looking at all the lovely cedar boards at the lumber yard and thinking “a cold frame made out of these would be nice”. I will need to sit down, take a deep breath, and THEN ask how much the cedar 2×8’s and such are going to cost!