How to make a homemade Composter – Make a Composter with Pallets Step by step

Do you want to make homemade compost? The first thing you will need is the compost bin , also called a compost bin or composter . Today we are going to see what are the steps to make a homemade compost bin with wooden pallets .

In this case we have bought new pallets, although you can also make a compost bin with recycled pallets , with reused wooden boards, etc.

First we will review what are the materials to make a composter with pallets, and then we will see how to make the compost bin step by step , with the photos of how we have done it.

This is an easy DIY activity that you can do even if you don’t have previous experience, and it can even be done with children.

It took us a morning to get the compost almost ready, and all of us – young and old – really enjoyed doing these outdoor tasks in the garden .

After our experience, I believe that making a homemade compost bin is a perfect activity to include within the projects of nursery and primary school gardens , as it fosters the ability to work as a team, organize tasks or spatial vision, among others. .

✅ What is a compost bin or composter

A compost bin, composter or composter is a kind of box or drawer in which organic remains (from the garden, garden or kitchen) are introduced for the manufacture of compost or homemade compost .

The compost or compost is one of the most complete ecological fertilizers for plant nutrition in the garden . It is a natural fertilizer that we can easily find in any garden store and that, in addition, we can obtain at home as long as we have a compost bin or composter.

There are several types of composters , of different shapes, sizes and materials: plastic, metal mesh, wood, made with metal drums … And with different uses: portable compost bins, vermicomposters to make worm castings , rotating cylindrical composters, plastic to have inside the house, wooden composters made with pallets or fruit boxes …

Today we will focus on one of the most common types of compost in urban community gardens : the wooden compost made with pallets.

Materials to make a composter with pallets

In our case, we decided to make a composter with two compartments or compost drawers , so we used 7 pallets in total: 5 for the structure and 2 for the doors of the composter (leaving the upper part free in this case).

You could also make a composter with three drawers -like the one in the photo above on the left-, for which you would need 5 pallets that would make up the structure and another 3 for the doors.

We use wooden pallets, but recycled plastic pallets could also be used to make the composter .

Materials to make a homemade compost bin:

  • 7 equal pallets
  • 8 metal brackets
  • Screws, nails or steel points, carabiners and rings
  • Wooden slats or slats
  • Water permeable geotextile mesh
  • Exterior Wood Paint
  • Tools: hammer, screwdriver, stapler, paint brushes or rollers …
  • Materials to make compost (with which we will fill the compost bin)

How to make a wooden compost bin step by step

First of all clarify that there is no single way to make a composter , since, as we have seen, there are many types.

The steps to make a compost bin that we have followed and that we will see below are one option, but there are many others …

Depending on what we like, the space we have, and the time or skill to do DIY activities, we can choose a simple composter (like the one we have made) or more elaborate composters like this:

Different mechanisms can be mounted for the doors or the lid of the composter (such as hinges, “removable” slats on rails …), although to make our composter easy , we have chosen the simplest: simply leave the doors resting on the structure of the compost bin and fasten them with rings and carabiners. We see it below in the steps to make a compost bin !

1. Join the pallets to assemble the structure of the compost bin

First you have to join the two pallets that will form the front wall of the compost bin (on the opposite side of the doors). To do this, we will support the pallets on the ground and we will help ourselves, as seen in the photo on the left, with several wooden slats so that the pallets are together.

We fit the slats in the gaps between the slats of the two pallets and we will reinforce it by nailing several nails or steel points that fix each slat to the two pallets.

The next step, as seen in the photo at the top right and the one below, is to attach the pallets to the front that will be the side walls of the composter and the central separator.

For this we will use the metal brackets, fixing them with several screws to each of the pairs of pallets that must form a right angle.

First, we fix the two pallets of the side walls and the one of the central division to the other two that we had joined first, and then we will reinforce the joints at the ends with wooden slats.

We found it more comfortable and easier to mount the structure of the compost bin in this same position, so we decided to join the pallets like this and turn the entire structure later.

2. Paint the wooden compost bin

Although we did, it is not mandatory to paint the homemade composter (nor do it in Step 2 : you can paint or varnish the pallets first -before mounting the structure- or you can also paint the composter only on the outside when completely finished).

We decided to paint the compost bin because we found it a fun activity to do with the kids and also because a couple of coats of exterior paint will help protect the wood as the composter takes longer to deteriorate.

Exterior wood paint or varnish is extra protection for your compost bin . The composter will remain outdoors for years and in rain, cold, sun, heat … With a coat of paint we will increase the resistance to these and other inclement weather.

3. Line the inside of the compost bin and the doors with geotextile

The next step is to protect the composter and the inside of the doors with a geotextile mesh. This step is not mandatory either, but, like painting, it is a way to protect the wood and help it last longer.

To line the compost bin and the doors with the mesh, you can choose different types of fixings, we did it with staples, which we nailed with a manual stapler along the perimeter of the six internal faces and the doors.

In some central areas we also reinforce it by attaching to the pallets some small wooden slats that we nail with steel tips on the mesh.

It is essential to use a breathable and water-permeable mesh . This is very important since for the formation of compost it is necessary that air enters the pile and also that, if it rains, the water can leave the drawer and the composter does not flood.

4. Attach the doors of the compost bin

Finally, before putting the doors, we reinforce the structure. To do this, we nailed a strip about two meters long and 1 cm thick joining the two front pallets at the top.

As we saw at the beginning, there are many alternatives to mount the doors of the composter . This is perhaps the simplest of all, since hinges or any other mechanism are not needed.

The wooden pallets are heavy and can be supported well supported on the ground and on the structure of the compost bin, so it is simply a matter of giving a little extra support to prevent the doors, superimposed in the front holes, from falling with the wind or rain.

4 insert rings and two carabiners are required for each door of the compost bin. In our case, the end joints are the ones that will always remain fixed, so they could have also been joined with flanges or ropes. This is how our homemade compost bin with doors turned out:

Making homemade compost in a wooden composter

After making the homemade compost we have to make compost with the waste from the garden, the garden and the kitchen.

Although we will see the basics below, you have more information about the different types of compost , the materials that can be used to make it, and other tips on how to make compost in the post What is a homemade compost and how it is made .

Materials to fill the compost bin

This is a sample of some of the compost materials that we use to fill our homemade compost bin:

In addition, we add a couple of wheelbarrows of horse manure, wood ash, and kitchen scraps like fruit peels, egg shells, etc.

How to fill the composter

The best way to make homemade compost is to add the different materials in layers to the compost so that later, when stirring, it is as homogeneous as possible.

To start filling the homemade compost bin, the ideal is to alternate dry materials with more humid materials. We first put the brooms and a layer of manure, then the straw (drier), and, on top of it, another layer of manure that we covered with the bark and pine cones. Finally, we add the green remains of grass and other crops that we covered again with straw and manure.

If it does not rain it is very important to water the compost from time to time , as well as adequate aeration . It can be watered with a hose or a watering can once or twice a week. To aerate it, it must be turned over with the help of a pitchfork or a shovel so that the water and oxygen also reach the material inside the composter.

As seen in the photos, we started by filling only one of the two drawers or compartments with compost. The goal of this is to have an older or older compost bin and a newer one. In the second we will add the new kitchen and garden scraps. When the first compartment is full, we will let it mature and start with the next one. You can use some of the more mature compost to add to the second compartment and get the process started faster.

I hope you liked the post and that, if you want, you can contribute your experiences, photos and comments on how to make homemade compost in the thread below. Greetings!

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