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Inexpensive compost container?

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Inexpensive compost container?

Post  norrie on 3/28/2010, 12:41 pm

I am just beginning SFG and currently my compost pile has been contained by chicken wire and stakes. Although what compost I will have to use this spring is going to be great stuff, I'd like to find a better way of storing it as it "works." Since our neighbors' back yards/gardens are adjacent to mine, I'd like to be a good neighbor and store the compost in a reasonably decent way.

My question is: Would a large vinyl garbage can work? Lid or no lid? I am putting all of my gardening funds into building boxes and buying soil for them this spring, so whatever you'd care to recommend must be cheap!

Thx in advance for any help.
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Sure they work!

Post  SirTravers on 3/28/2010, 12:45 pm

I've seen folks make cheap "tumblers" out of the round trashcans. They just make a way to clamp the lid down while they roll the can. My only concern would be putting some airholes in the can with a drill so the compost doesn't get too hot inside.

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Re: Inexpensive compost container?

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/28/2010, 12:49 pm

My personal opinion is that plastic looks tacky (and I have plastic bins)

In the mountains I had a wire circle but much heavier gage wire then chicken wire. I did not see how old you are, but when I was younger I just pulled/lifted the wire cylinder from the pile and forked it back in. Best, fastest compost I ever had ....except that bunny droppings and chicken house straw went into it and that probably helped.

As someone already said (Travers?) it needs to get air.
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Re: Inexpensive compost container?

Post  boffer on 3/28/2010, 1:28 pm

Hi,
A garbage can with ventilation and drainage holes would work. I doubt it would roll well to turn the compost. You would have to dump the contents, stir them, and reload.

Could you use free pallets as sides? decorate them somehow?

Compost will do it's thing just laying on the ground, and being turned occasionally, if that's a better looking option.
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Re: Inexpensive compost container?

Post  LaFee on 3/28/2010, 1:38 pm

One of my neighbors took three pallets and screwed them together, then stapled weed cloth on the inside to keep everything in. (allows air in, too!

He has a fourth pallet that he's stapled cloth across, and he just sets it across the other three as a "door". No lid -- it sits under a tree, so it gets when when it rains, but not really drowned.

Cheap, pretty low on technical skill requirements, and not very pretty, but pretty functional (it sits in a back corner where nobody sees it, so pretty doesn't matter much.

I gotta do something with mine -- I've got grass cuttings and leaves galore...but I also have a Lab who thinks that carrot peelings and egg shells are treats!

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Re: Inexpensive compost container?

Post  herblover on 3/28/2010, 2:03 pm

I use a black vinyl trashcan with the lid on. My husband cut holes in the sides for air circulation. With the exception of the holes it looks like all the other trashcans which sit out on the sides of yards. I can put it on its side and circulate the contents, but it is basically a cold composting system, which I am fine with. We need to replace the bottom of our SFG box which will require all the soil to be removed from the box. I will then dump in the compost which is ready and put what isn't back in the can.
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Re: Inexpensive compost container?

Post  lisaphoto on 3/31/2010, 8:34 am

What do you mean by cold composting? I really like the idea of just using a trash can b/c I live in a home owner association, and it's cheaper, but does cold composting mean it takes a lot longer?
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Re: Inexpensive compost container?

Post  nancy on 3/31/2010, 9:37 am

Mine is an Earth Machine. My county sells them twice a year as a fund raiser. It was $35 3 years ago. I absolutely love it. You cannot buy direct from them, but maybe there will be a fund-raiser near you this spring.

Good luck!
n.
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Re: Inexpensive compost container?

Post  camprn on 3/31/2010, 9:52 am

Lavender Debs wrote:
In the mountains I had a wire circle but much heavier gage wire then chicken wire. I just pulled/lifted the wire cylinder from the pile and forked it back in. Best, fastest compost I ever had ....except that bunny droppings and chicken house straw went into it and that probably helped.
Brilliant! Maybe I will give this method a go...
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Re: Inexpensive compost container?

Post  Retired Member 1 on 3/31/2010, 3:25 pm

Pallets can look pretty good as compost holders. Get all the same size, and paint them. I used chicken wire on the inside of mine to help contain the smaller stuff. Instead of a pallet across the front (too heavy for me to move), I screw 12" boards up the front as the compost pile grows -- I don't turn mine. If you turn yours, then a "door" made from a piece of plywood painted to match would look classy.

http://www.digitalseed.com/composter/bins/palletbin.html has the instructions, except I run mine horizonally to take advantage of the 2x4 bracing.

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Re: Inexpensive compost container?

Post  herblover on 4/1/2010, 9:44 pm

lisaphoto wrote:What do you mean by cold composting? I really like the idea of just using a trash can b/c I live in a home owner association, and it's cheaper, but does cold composting mean it takes a lot longer?

Cold composting does take longer; it is basically just dumping the stuff in and letting nature take its course. I didn't turn it at all over the winter, but do mix it when I dump a bucket of stuff in. I am also not too diligent about making sure it is damp enough. All this is in part because once I had about half a trashcan full it is too hard for me to mix. I am planning to dump the whole thing out this weekend and work the fully composted material into my garden. I will put the rest back in and continue the process.
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Wooden Pallet Compost Bin

Post  Cheri on 5/21/2010, 10:20 am

Thanks for the link for the Wooden Pallet Compost Bin! This is exactly what I've been looking for.

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Re: Inexpensive compost container?

Post  dmpower on 5/21/2010, 11:18 am

I have been using the trash can method for a while, but really don't like the look of the can in the area that I use for composting. I also find it too confining. For Mothers' Day I convinced my guys to find old lumber and make me a double compost bin. I supplied the wire mesh, and we were up and running by the end of the day. I used a photo found on line, and just sort of copied the idea. I think you can find the true plans for this on lowes project site. http://images.teamsugar.com/files/upl1/6/61259/42_2008/397b90857926f507_Compost_Bin.JPG

The boards on the front slide in and out and can be placed at any height - depending on your compost depth.
I will try to get a photo up today
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Re: Inexpensive compost container?

Post  junequilt on 5/21/2010, 12:52 pm

We have three adjacent 4'x4' compost bins. They consist of plastic-coated wire fencing and green metal fence posts (available at any hardware or building supply store). For the bin fronts, we cut separate "doors" of fencing and attach them with dog-leash clips. We use more of the same clips to close them when we want to.

I've tried many different types of compost bins over the years, and this type seems to work best in my location. You'd think stuff would fall out through the holes in the fencing, but it really doesn't. And the aeration is fantastic.
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Bioreactor

Post  camprn on 3/12/2011, 2:16 pm

How to build a two-can bioreactor otherwise known as a Compost bin<~~~ click here
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Re: Inexpensive compost container?

Post  Clayton on 3/12/2011, 2:43 pm

Two of my containers are just what junequilt described. The 'doors' in the middle pile are attached on both sides with some scrap PVC. I remove them both and have full access to the pile to turn it. I think the far left pile is attached at one location with a green plastic plant support spike.

I keep my finished/finishing compost in the Rubbermaid compost unit that I inherited... otherwise it would be a third 'circle' with posts and plastic fencing. I'm actually now considering a third ring anyway since I found an endless source of horse manure to compliment my stockpile of browns.

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Re: Inexpensive compost container?

Post  camprn on 3/12/2011, 7:18 pm

So is that nylon fencing?
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Re: Inexpensive compost container?

Post  Clayton on 3/14/2011, 6:03 pm

Yes it is. I used green metal fence posts and a few zip ties with the fencing. Here's another picture that shows the fencing a little better.

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