Simple Compost bin

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Project by mjdinsmore posted 09-08-2008 02:44 AM 3234 views 6 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I needed a simple compost bin to handle a lot of my daily yard waste and kitchen scraps. I didn’t want to fill the trash with this sort of thing when it can be so beneficial to the perennial garden beds. Plus, its a simple way to be Earth friendly and do my part to help the planet.

I decided to scale it to my needs (can easily be made larger) and yard. The front part has an inner board which creates a channel for the whole front face to ride in to take on or off. The top I used some screen material left over from redoing my screen door. I wanted it to be open at the top so water can get in. I fitted the top so it’d be rather tight so raccoons and other wildlife didn’t try to get mart and try to break in (and make a mess). Leftover banana peels and rotten fruit can drawn some wildlife to that sort of thing like kids to an ice cream truck.

I hope you like the finished compost bin and it inspires you to make something similar!

9 comments so far

View Denappy's profile


116 posts in 4766 days

#1 posted 09-08-2008 02:59 AM

Very nice work, like how it fits together. I have been using recycled pallets and wire fence/t-posts for my compost bins; this design is loads better! What type of wood did you use and how do you plan to seal it?

-- -=Den

View mjdinsmore's profile


57 posts in 4638 days

#2 posted 09-08-2008 03:07 AM

I used simple pine. I just gave it a coat of danish oil for its finish. It won’t make it last forever, but by the time it starts breaking down, I can just break the boards up a little more and throw that into the bin to break down fully and make a new one in its place.

I definitely chose to not use pressure treated lumber, which would last a lot longer, because I didn’t want any chemicals leeching into the compost—some of which may be applied to a vegetable garden.

View bradygaster's profile


15 posts in 5111 days

#3 posted 09-08-2008 04:09 AM

What all CAN you put into one of these? I have a friend, a naturalist, who puts all sorts of things into hers. It does, however, end up stinking REALLY badly. Aside from put it farther away from your house (I’m not sure you would get it far enough with certain contents) what can you do to make something like this airtight?

-- Brady Gaster, Indian Trail NC

View Napaman's profile


5535 posts in 5161 days

#4 posted 09-08-2008 05:25 AM

nice job…I like this simple desigfn…I think I want to make one from recyled pallets…so wont last forever…but then re-used materials…

thats what I like about your idea…wont last forever…but will improve garden for as long as possible…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Derek Lyons's profile

Derek Lyons

584 posts in 4652 days

#5 posted 09-08-2008 08:13 AM

You don’t want it airtight bradgygaster – as the bacteria that make it compost need oxygen. (Which is one of the reasons what you stir your pile every now-and-again.)

-- Derek, Bremerton WA --

View rtb's profile


1101 posts in 4797 days

#6 posted 09-08-2008 01:11 PM

bradygaster …. things to avoid are meats and meat by products and animal waste from meat eating animals including house pets. Good compost is very low odor and not perticularly offensive. Experts suggest that a pile that stinks should be torn apart and not used, has to do with the type a bacteria that breaks down these undiserable products…for more any better information I reccomend you public library or see our sister garden site.

BJ very nice composter..I generally just have piles but then mine aren’t in the yard either.

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5245 days

#7 posted 09-08-2008 02:13 PM

I think the compost needs to be “turned” frequently and lots of dry materials added to create a well-balanced “non-stinking” compost pile.

This is a great piece.
You should post it over at

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View mjdinsmore's profile


57 posts in 4638 days

#8 posted 09-09-2008 06:28 AM

A compost pile that is “working” shouldn’t have a smell. Once things start decaying—and the pile should get warm, it’ll be breaking things down and the heat generated from it ensure this happens quickly. If its smelling, the typical solution is to add some “brown” matter—plain ol’ dirt, dried up leaves, etc. Mixing a pile sometimes helps ensure the mixture is properly distributed—you don’t have too much green material in one location and brown in another.

Like RTB said, don’t put meat products, animal waste, or the like. It’ll attract rodents, raccoons and other animals that will cause problems. It also doesn’t add anything good for the compost.

Thanks for al lthe nice comments everyone!

View Ryan Fenters's profile

Ryan Fenters

13 posts in 4113 days

#9 posted 02-08-2010 10:04 PM

So far one of the nicest looking compost bin’s I have seen.

-- Normal is Broke, Be Weird.

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