DIY · Gardening · Homesteading

Making A Compost Bin From Wood Pallets

When we lived in our previous town, finding wood pallets was very hard. There was such a high demand for them – so many people doing Pinterest projects, and a lack of stores giving them away. The few stores with wooden pallets often charged for them. So, when I was thinking of ideas for making an easy DIY compost bin setup, wood pallets were not high on my list. I figured they wouldn’t be easy to acquire.I asked around on a local Facebook group to at least see, and well, apparently in a more rural and agricultural area, wood pallets are easy to come by.

So after a quick drive into town, and the loading up of the truck, and grabbing a few affordable supplies, I got to work. My first idea of where to put the compost bin setup was closer to the house, but too close to the septic portals. Kirk pointed it out that if we needed anything done, it would be a huge issue. While looking around the open areas of the property, it occurred that near the beehives would be good. It is sunny nearly all day, has good ventilation, and is otherwise not a useable area – it has a slope right below. But perfect for compost. Even when the new bees are added, it will work fine.

We had a compost tumbler we had used for the past 5-6 years, but we left it behind when we sold the house. While it worked, the outer casing always held water, making it hard to tumble. I never felt that it did a good job. When I was growing up we often had piles out back, that my brother and I were required to turn periodically with a pitchfork.

The boys’ school has a farm that they work at weekly – this past week they did an Earth Day celebration, and composting was discussed and worked on. Walker was brow beating me for us not having a current bin. And he was right. With us having moved, I hadn’t had the time to get one going. So I made the time to get it done. It took us about an hour of working, which wasn’t long at all.

The area with the pile of old leaves was the considered area.

Alistaire helped me rake back all the leaves from last Fall. Underneath the ground was bare, and very rich, from the decomposing leaves.

I wanted to make a 2 section compost bin, so I needed 5 wood pallets (always look for the HT stamp on the pallets, for “heat treated”). I picked up a bag of 11.8″ white zip ties. You will need to put together 2 to 3 zip ties to circle each section (it’s considerably cheaper to use 11″ ones than to buy 24″ or bigger ones). For each side I did one on top, and one on the bottom. For a small place you could stop at 3 pallets.

I started the next section and finished it. Was it a bit not-so-level? I worked on that a bit, and made it fit tighter.

Due to the open manner of the pallets, I chose to wrap the lower half with chicken wire. You can find 2 to 3 foot high in both plastic or metal. Plastic can be easier to wrap, with less issues of ripping into your hands. Really though, it comes down to price. Buy what is cheapest. I trimmed all of the zip ties, then used a staple gun to attach the chicken wire.

The wire will help prevent the lower parts of the compost from spilling out.

I put the boys to work, raking the leaves back in. The goal is the right side will be the first bin, using the leaves on the left as needed. It cost me about $20 in supplies, however I used about $10 worth of them to make it.