How To Build The Ultimate Compost Bin

Get the compost bin plans for this 3-crate system to shave weeks off your composting process.

March 16, 2017
The ultimate compost bin
Thomas MacDonald

Successful organic gardeners rely on compost to improve soil fertility and moisture management, nourish helpful microbes, and inoculate against destructive ones. This three compost bin system is a compost factory that efficiently pumps out heaps of finished black gold in weeks, rather than the months you would typically wait during a more hands-off approach to composting. Made from rot-resistant cedar, our ultimate compost bin features removable front planks and a clean look that allows for plenty of air movement. And best of all, you can build it in just a few hours. Here's how to make our favorite compost bin:

Tools

1 saw
1 drill
1 measuring tape
1 box of 2 inch wood screws
1 box of 2½ inch wood screws
1 mallet or sledgehammer
4 metal fence posts with screw holes, 4 feet long
1 staple gun and staples
1 roll of 36 feet x 3 feet wire netting (chicken wire or a stronger material with similar-size openings)

Related: The 6 Rules Of Compost Gardening

Wood

7 pieces: 1 inch x 6 inches x 12 feet
9 pieces: 1 inch x 6 inches x 10 feet
2 pieces: 1 inch x 2 inches x 10 feet
2 pieces: 2 inches x 6 inches x 10 feet
2 pieces: 2 inches by 6 inches x 12 feet
2 pieces: 2 inches by 4 inches by 12 feet

(On just a quarter-acre of land, you can produce fresh, organic food for a family of four—year-round. Rodale's The Backyard Homestead shows you how; get your copy today. )

Wood Cuts

Removable planks
Cut four of the 1x6x12s into 3 foot 7½ inch pieces, 12 total.

Uprights (for end and middle panels)
Cut the 2x4x12s into 2 foot 10½ inch pieces, 8 total.

Side slats
Cut the 1x6x10s into 4 foot 6 inch pieces, 18 total.

Front and back supports
Cut the 2x6x12s into 2 foot 10½ inch pieces, 8 total.

Bottom pieces
Cut the 2x6x10s into 4 foot 9 inch pieces, 4 total.

Plank supports
Cut the 1x2x10s into 2 foot 10½ inch pieces, 6 total.

Back slats
Use the three remaining uncut 1x6x12s.

Related: Everything You Need To Know About Composting

building a compost bin
1/9 Thomas MacDonald
Making The Compost Bin End Panels

1. On a flat surface, place two side slats on top of two uprights. To avoid splitting the wood, drill guide holes first. Attach.

2. Attach a third side slat, spaced evenly, to make one side panel.

3. Position the front and back supports as shown, placing the assembly on a hard surface (we used one of the planks).

building a compost bin
2/9 Thomas MacDonald

4. Attach the supports, screwing into the side slats and also into uprights.

5. Flipping the panels upside down, attach bottom pieces as shown using the 2½ inch screws.

building a compost bin
3/9 Thomas MacDonald

6. Repeats steps 1 through 5 to build the other end panel.

7. To make grooves for removable planks, lay panels flat. Allow one plank’s thickness (plus a little), and attach the plank supports to the side slots, leaving a plank in place as a guide.

Related: How To Choose The Best Compost Bin For You

building a compost bin
4/9 Thomas MacDonald
Making The Compost Bin Middle Panels

Build these panels as you did the end panels, with a few exceptions.

1. Repeat End Panel steps 1 and 2 above.

2. Flip the panels and fasten three more side slats on the other side of both middle panels.

3. The front and back supports must be centered perpendicular to the uprights.

(Sign up for our FREE newsletter to get clever kitchen tricks, gardening secrets, and more delivered straight to your inbox!)

building a compost bin
5/9 Thomas MacDonald

4. Attach the bottom pieces, being careful to screw into the side slats. Use the 2½ inch screws.

5. As with the side panels, create grooves for planks by attaching plank supports to the uprights.

6. Do this on both faces of the two middle panels, as shown.

Related: 6 Mistakes You're Making With Your Compost Pile

building a compost bin
6/9 Thomas MacDonald
Putting The Compost Bin Together

1. Balance the panels on their front supports. Attach the three 12 foot back slats to both end panel back supports.

2. Measure 49 inches from each end to mark where the middle panels will go. Attach the middle panels with screws, centering marks on back supports.

building a compost bin
7/9 Thomas MacDonald

3. Place a bin with bottom pieces on soil and slide four removable planks into each bin to evenly space front supports.

4. Remove the planks and pound in metal fence posts.

5. Attach the posts.

building a compost bin
8/9 Thomas MacDonald

6.  Staple wire netting to the insides of each bin.

7.  Replace the removable planks and you’re done!

Related: 7 Solutions To Common Compost Problems

The ultimate compost bin
9/9 Thomas MacDonald
How To Work The Compost Bin System

Fill the first compost bin with compostables

When it's full, turn the contents into the second compost bin every few days (the more often you turn it, the faster the decomposition will occur).

Begin filling the third compost bin with fresh materials.

When the third bin is full, the second bin is “finished,” and the first bin is empty, allowing you to start the process over.

Related: 7 Things You Should Never Compost

Advertisement
Advertisement
Comments