Building a compost bin of your own can be an extremely simple process. It can also be a complex one that turns out your dream compiler. It all depends on what you want in the end. Some gardeners stick to forming premed wood pallets into a square, forming an instant composter. Others take the time to do more complex bins that will last a lot longer.
Here's how to build a cedar compost bin that's not too tricky to make, but will last you more than a few years. Do not get discouraged – composting is not all that hard!
First, you'll need to select your wood. Cedar is an excellent choice, since it resists weather and rot, but some people choose other options as well. Avoid wood that has been treated with any kind of conservative, however. These chemicals can leach into your compost or the ground below the pile, and cause real problems. Stick to natural wood, and your compost will be a lot healthier.
For a basic compiler, you'll need seven three foot lengths of 2 "x6" cedar. You can make the cuts yourself, or have the lumber yard do it for a small fee. You'll also need four pieces of 2 "x2" or 4 "x4" cedar in four foot lengths, and plenty of three inch galvanized nails.
Start by sharpening the ends of your 2x2s to create stakes, or by digging holes in which to place your 4x4s. Remember – this does not have to look good. It just has to keep the bin in one spot. Nail the three foot long boards to your posts to form a square, leaving space between the board to aerate the pile, and leaving the top board off the side of the bin that'll form the front.
If you're using 4x4s, it's best to bury their ends in the ground first, then nail your boards on. If you'll be using the 2x2s, you can make the bin, then drive the corner posts into the ground with a mallet. Just leave enough of a post to support the compost bin below the ground. Once you've created the bin, it's ready to use. You may wish to start your compost using some already finished compost or other additives that act as activators. Grass clippings or well composed chicken manure are common choice.
Remember to turn the pile from time to time with a pitchfork (that's what the open side is for) and keep an eye on it to make sure it does not attract pets. Keep the balance of vegetable scraps and yard waste correct, and you'll soon have good quality compost for your garden. It's really that easy. If you have a lot of waste to compost, just build additional bins alongside the one you already have.