Saturday, October 24, 2009

Making a Compost Box

Finally got around to building my compost box and thought I'd post it since there is a lack of decent plans (at least frugal plans...) available on the internet. This design worked out well for me: 3' wide, 3'tall, and 2'wide. This means all you need is:

2 2x4x6 (4 legs, 3' long)
8 1x6x8 (12 3' front and back, 12 2' sides)
1 small box screws

Be sure to use pressure treated wood rated for exterior applications. Also, screw the sides to the 2x4 legs (do not nail). Use double-dipped or galvanized screws or they'll rust in no time and you'll be re-building the box a second time. I made the front and back portions first (be sure to use a square). Look at the pictures closely wrt how the slats attach to the legs: be sure to leave an overhang on the ends of the front and back so the side slats will fit in snugly. No need for a cover since the box is deep enough to generate good heat without one, plus an open top gives ready access to rain and oxygen, both of which accelerate decomposition. Do not screw the bottom slat on the front because you'll want to shovel out the good schtank from that access point. Also, I left an inch or so around the bottom so that water can seep out.

After you load the box say a quarter full with leaves and whatknot, be sure to put a couple shovel fulls of good dirt in to add the healthy micro organisms which are necessary for proper decomposition. I put my box outside my back door and close to the garden. This allows me to easily recycle kitchen scraps as well as garden material. After I put the spent broccoli, cabbage, and squash plants in the box, I will fill the rest up with leaves, leaving a few inches on top for kitchen scraps. Decomposed leaves are basically potash, and there's not a better/cheaper way to keep your garden and plants well fed. The compost box should be turned occaisionally for uniform decomposition.

Total cost for the compost box was $24.70 - but I already had the screws. Still, the total cost should be under $30 for anyone.

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