Compost Bin: Build Your Own or Buy?

Hi everyone! As stated previously on my blog, I dabble in gardening – from small container exercises to slightly bigger patches of gardening and I hope to someday have a thriving large survival garden in my backyard – including a compost bin of my own.

But that opens the question of investing in a readymade compost bin or taking the DIY route and making a compost bin out of recycled materials at home.  Let’s look at both, along with some ideas on how to do it yourself.

Readymade Compost Bins

There are all sorts of compost bins you can buy – at a wide range of prices. They can be purchased for under $20 or all the way up to $5,000 – with high end compost bins usually coming in around $900.

Most quality compost bins cost around $50 or so and you can put all of your kitchen scraps in there for a nice, heated compost in your yard.

There are indoor composting bins (and this is the bestselling one) and there are outdoor composting bins (and here is the bestseller for that).

Build Your Own Compost Bin

If you don’t want to invest in one already made for you, then you can create your own from scratch. Here are 4 simple methods on how to make a compost bin for cheap or even for free:

Compost Bin Made From an Old Trash Can

Old rubber trash cans make great containers for a compost bin. You may have an old one lying around or you can purchase them at yard sales for a nominal cost. It works best if you have two of them – one slightly larger than the other.

The process of composting produces some liquid, which is best drained off so that the compost heap doesn’t go sour. Drill some holes in the bottom of the smaller trash bin and set it inside the larger one.

Add a bricks to the bottom of the outer pail if necessary to keep the smaller one suspended off the floor. Place your layers of brown and green material into the smaller bin for composting.

Compost Bin Made From Recycled Wood

A great homemade compost bin can be constructed from old wooden pallets. These can often be found for very cheap or even for free if you’re willing to go pick them up. Check with local warehouse or wholesale stores.

These recycled pallets are perfect for compost bins because their construction allows for excellent aeration of the compost heap. They can simply be wired together along the edges using coat hanger wire. Putting hinges on the front and top makes it easy to open the compost bin and do the turning or mixing.


Wire Compost Bin

You can also make a compost bin from chicken wire or rolls of construction remesh wire. Just gather wire scraps, tools for cutting and bending wire, metal paper clips, and measuring tape. If free wire mesh isn’t available, the cost is minimal.

Using paper clips to join the wire mesh into a cylinder, make and fasten a wire cylinder that measures approximately three feet in diameter and 4 feet high. Stand your new compost bin up in a clear spot where air can circulate all around.

Start filling the bin with grass clippings, shredded paper, kitchen vegetable waste, or whatever items you want to compost with. There is no turning necessary. The compost is formed in the center of the heap.

Lasagna-Style Composting

Some people may not consider this last method true composting, but I do! Over a long period of time, the result is the same. This is called lasagna-style because you are building up layers of material to decompose.

Choose a raised bed or a corner or edge of your garden. Simply lay down a floor of cardboard as the bottom layer. It will choke out and kill the grass or weeds underneath. Apply layers of green and brown composting materials, watering down the pile in between.

When you’re ready to plant, simply top off your lasagna pile with a layer of soil and plant your seeds. The lasagna layers will break down over time into rich soil.

The best method for how to make a compost bin yourself is to recycle whatever materials you have on hand or you can get for cheap – along with making the decision as to what you want aesthetically in your yard (if that matters to you).

As for me, I’m lazy. I would much rather save up for a medium-priced readymade compost bin that can be delivered to me and that I know from customer reviews will work.

I have seen so many comments from gardeners asking why their DIY compost bin didn’t function properly, that I’d be afraid I would make a mistake and waste a bunch of time and materials on something that didn’t work.

Tiff 😉

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