We made a compost bin last month from pallets that we had sitting around. Since then I have come to realize some things, it turns out we didn’t think it through too well. I decided to write this post to help you not make the same mistakes we made.
Compost is great for the garden and an awesome way to reduce waste. There are so many things you can compost to produce high quality soil for your garden. If you want to know more about the why, how and what of composting make sure you check out this post!
Location, location, location
We decided to put our compost bin behind our sheep shed so we didn’t have to look at it all day. In theory it was a good idea, but there are some problems with this location. First of all, it is a pretty long walk from the house and where we keep our chickens. I use little yogurt buckets in the kitchen to put my scraps in, I fill up at least 2 a day. When they are full I have to walk a long way to put our kitchen scraps in the compost bin, which is ok when the weather is nice, but not ideal when it is raining or cold out. It’s also not easily accessible with the wheelbarrow, I have to walk a long way to empty the wheelbarrow when I am cleaning out the chicken coop or working in the garden. This takes up a lot of time. Another thing is that it is not close to a water source, and compost needs moisture. I am now having to haul buckets of water over to the compost bin to keep it from drying out.
Another big thing is that we put it inside the sheep pasture, and though sheep are not goats, they are still curious. I connected the pallets with screws so it holds pretty well, but I didn’t connect the front because I wanted to be able to open it. Well, I am not the only one who can open it, the sheep can open it as well. After which they get into the compost and throw it all over the place.
We are lucky not to have a lot of predators or dangerous wildlife that go after our animals and food scraps. We don’t have bears, raccoon or opossums in our area. We do have crows though, they usually stay away from the house, but since the compost bin is too far away from the house they get into the compost. They steal the kitchen scraps and make a big mess. The worst part is that crows are scavengers and carry diseases, not something I want in my compost.
Only one bin
We only made one bin out of pallets, which filled up pretty quickly. I have been dumping all of our waste in there from grass clippings, to most of the kitchen scraps and animal bedding. I also got some more yard waste from one of our neighbors (he was dumping it in the woods so I told him to bring it to our house, free compost!). So we ended up having to build another bin next to it, mostly because it was full, but also because I wanted to turn the compost to speed up the process. So I can already tell you that if you have a steady stream of organic waste, one compost bin is not going to cut it. I am now looking into getting some more pallets to add a third bin to it, because the second bin is also filling up really fast! And just so you know, there is no such thing as too much compost! It may look like a lot when you have dumped all your organic material on there, but the composting process breaks it down and reduces the amount significantly!
What problems have you encountered that you didn’t foresee when setting up your compost bin?