A few weekends ago, Dane and I started the build of our DIY compost bin from wood. To be completely truthful, he has been trying to talk me into composting for years. He’s got a little country running through his blood, so homesteading excites him quite a lot. He's done a ton of research about how to start composting at home.
I personally was just really turned off by the possible smells and rodents it could bring. And I'm not only talking about the smell of the compost bins, I'm talking about the food bin I'd have to add to my already tiny countertop space too.
He explained that if done right, smells wouldn’t occur, but I still wasn’t having it. So we compromised and decided that our homemade compost would be yard waste only. We have so much of it!
Why we're composting
Our yard at Dresden was pretty tiny compared to our yard now. We went from about 800 SF to 18,000 SF. With so much space, I see so much potential back there! Especially with my vegetable garden layout idea. But with potential comes cost. For what I have imagined it to look like in the end, it’s going to be costly. So what better way to cut costs than making your yard work for you?
We are probably no where near where we need to be when it comes to quantity of compost bins, but we put together two so far. I wanted to make sure we could stick with it before we went crazy. Now, the raised bed vegetable garden layout I’m planning? It’s crazy. There’s no denying it. The compost bin is actually placed about where I want the vegetable garden to end.
In total, I’m planning on the vegetable garden measuring about 18x43. If my math is correct, we should max out at (14) 4x8 beds. That also allows for 2 feet of walking space between each bed.
The plan is to start the compost now, so that it’s ready to use in the Spring. If we can collect enough, I’d like to fill the vegetable garden beds with our compost. From there, I plan to use it in place of topsoil when we add new plants to either planters or the landscape.
If you’re looking to compost your yard
waste as well, we’ve read that the correct
ratio is 3 parts browns to 1 part greens.
Browns are high in carbon, and include things like dead leaves, dead grass and/or plant trimmings, saw dust, or wood chips. Greens are high in nitrogen and include things like fresh grass clippings, fresh prunings, spent annual plants, and weeds. We definitely won't lack browns, but I am a little worried about collecting enough green before the winter. I may be calling on family for extra help there.
Compost Bin Design
To build our compost bins, we used a really simple design of 2x4 Pine and exterior screws. Nothing fancy here. Not even a miter cut. We then stapled chicken wire to the backside of each panel using a nail gun. Traditional compost bins typically have 3 sides, but no top or front. But I wanted ours to look more like a piece of furniture.
With our backyard design, I want to go for a little more of a formal look. I just really love when things look nice and tidy. I'm even planning on a cute fence to go around the vegetable garden space. It'll serve as a nice way to keep the dogs, kids, and bunnies from our crop.
So while designing our bins, I decided on a gate in front with a diagonal gate brace that would book match the other door. The doors are a necessity for keeping both Lenna and our dogs out. But with all of the things I wanted in this build, it was a two weekend project. Mostly because we're working only during nap times.
While the first weekend was all about building the structure, this past weekend was all about the details. Dane built the door frames, I added the chicken wire, we added the hinges and locks, and I got to staining. At first, I liked the contrast of the raw wood color against the patina’d fence. But this weekend, I really just wanted the bins to disappear. As much as they could anyway. I don't want them to become a focal point.
When we start building our vegetable garden this Spring, I think I’ll stain the vegetable garden fence the same Varathane Classic Grey. And I love the chicken wire, so I’ll carry the same concept there as well. We bought matte black hardware for the bins and didn’t end up using them. I may use them for the vegetable garden. Or maybe an outdoor garden storage bin? I’m taking suggestions.