Tag: compost

Build your own free DIY Pallet compost bin

Finished DIY palette compost bin (free)What to do when you have too much spare compost that you are not quite ready to use, well I was politely told to  “make your own compost bin”! Ideally it would be great to store it all in a free compost bin that does not get excessively wet or attract local squatters, in the form of weeds.

We already have a plastic compost bin that we use to rot down our waste material, but we needed additional storage capacity.

Being scrimpers, we wanted to build our own storage compost bin, without ideally spending any money. Not that a plastic bin is particularly expensive (£20-£30) but we would rather recycle where possible and learn new skills. 

There are of course many great examples on-line using old wooden pallets to construct the frame, which contributed and influenced our ideas, but we only had two wooden pallets and this was our attempt.

What can you build with only two free pallets?

Ordinarily most of the on-line compost bin examples we found, used one pallet per side (or wall) so would need four in total, but we only had two available and they were of slightly different sizes. So we opted to take them apart and create four single panels, instead of double lined frame.

Also with the two layers of a typical pallet, a large amount of your compost just falls through the gaps in between and is not easy to extract via a spade or trowel.

The other issue was, we wanted a little hutch type door so that everything did not all fall out each time we tried to extract some compost.

It doesn’t have a large compost capacity, is it worth it?

One could argue maybe not with a total capacity of 234 litres, but for us it was a case of having limited available space but needing somewhere permanent to keep any fresh compost until needed. Plus it was an ideal size to fit in-between two small tree’s where nothing useful would grow anyway, being that it’s too shady and the tree’s would dominate the available nutrients/ground moisture.

The other advantage (i think) is that any compost that we move from the main compost heap that hasn’t finished breaking down properly, might just continue to decompose in the second bin. Hopefully with all the aeration in new compost bin, being the large gaps and netting between the planks.

What did we spend on this DIY compost bin project?

Well actually nothing, well apart from our time on a hot Saturday afternoon. It beats sitting around doing nothing, whilst still catching some lovely warm rays and burning a few (hundred) calories.

Ok it was not as glamorous as i make out, it was sweaty work trying to lever off the planks from the pallet, as each was nailed down with 3-4 large old rusty nails per adjoining support. I think there was 3 adjoining supports per plank, so not all of them came off in one piece, plus i had a few anger management issues on a couple of them.

I already had the tools, plenty of outdoor wood screws and some spare netting kicking about. Alternatively I had considered using the netting bags that fruit comes in from the local supermarket, though it would be a little more fiddly.

Certainly a worth while little DIY project

Yes I would say, it was a fun little project to do with my father in law Paul on a sunny afternoon and it provided 234 litres of permanent compost storage in a dead space region of the garden.

It didn’t cost a penny and it made a great use of two old free pallets that we recycled and kinda up-cycled into something useful for the whole garden. Good old home composting!

234 litres is certainly not enough compost storage for the amount of plants we grow, but it’s a start. I already have plans to build a larger compost bin, just the question is, as always, space!

Have you made anything from wooden pallets?

As always we would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and experiences with building your DIY wooden compost bins or any other project with old wooden pallets. We have recently obtained a couple more small pallets that are being reserved for the right project. Any ideas?

Simple compost aerator from toilet rolls

compost aerator

Aerator thrown into the compost bin

A homemade compost aerator is a simple, sustainable and very green trick to help speed up your composting using old toilet rolls. The old trusty toilet roll, there are so many things one can do with them in addition to finding their way into the recycling bin!

We have previously used them as bio-degradable planters for our seedlings or brown mulch for our wormery to name a couple of great uses. Though our dog has really found a love for left over toilet rolls, she fetches them from the bathroom and brings them to us and sits down, asking for permission before chewing it to pieces. Ever so cute!

UPDATE (04/07/13): Picture of the toilet roll terror added to the bottom of this post.

Scrimpers choice! Don’t have to spend a penny.

homemade toilet roll compost aerators

5 Simple steps using our old toilet rolls as compost aerators

We came across a post a few months back about creating toilet roll aerators; now for the life of me I cannot find the site to be referenced here. If anyone else can provide the link, I will add it to this post.

The post highlighted the issues with getting plenty of air into the compost mix to aid the bacteria, to increase the speed in which the matter breaks down. Normally we would do our best to turn it over, but it can be quite difficult to do at times, unless you have a rotating composter tumbler or a Dolmen Compost Mixer and Aerator. But as we are trying to be frugal scrimpers, keeping costs low and making the most of what you have, we thought this is worth a try.

The author pointed out the benefits of creating small air pockets within your compost and that they could be created by folding in the ends of your old toilet rolls and chucking them onto the heap and covering.

Easy peasy homemade compost aerators

Without trying to waffle too much, in a couple of simple quick and easy steps we created our first compost aerator tool:

  1. Fold in the top inch of both sides of one end of the toilet roll
  2. Then fold in the two flaps to partially close the end of the tube to create a little structure.
  3. Do the same to the other end
  4. Voila, done!
  5. Throw them into your compost bin and gently mix a little compost on top.

They will eventually get crushed (obviously), but they should continue to act as small air pockets until they rot away. I believe the idea is to continually keep adding them as you add more matter to break down.

Have you any results to share with your compost aerator?

Despite our compost looking good on our last bin raid, we have only been doing this for a couple of months, so we have nothing conclusive to add yet. Though each time we have a spare toilet roll, we have been adding them into our compost bin and on occasion yes we have been giving one to our dog to chew lol.

Has anyone any experience with this trick?

We are interested to find out how effective this trick is for anyone else’s compost breakdown or if they are any other great composting ideas.

UPDATE: Toilet Roll Terror – Asking for permission to chew
Our dog holding a toilet roll

Toilet roll terror

A couple of days after I posted this, we were sat outside in the sunshine and she came up, sat infront of Sherrie carefully holding her precious find. Then she will lift her paw ever so gently to ask if she can have it. I could not resist adding this cute little pic.


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