Compost bins

Compost bins

Laura~~
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Laura~~
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Joined: April 1st, 2006, 12:30 am

June 25th, 2007, 4:39 am #1

One of the compost bin suggestions: Earth Engine. This wire-and-cedar composter has the advantage of being relatively easy and inexpensive (two double bins @ $199 would cost $398).

http://www.stevesearthengine.com/

Here's a diagram and a picture:




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Laura~~
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Laura~~
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Joined: April 1st, 2006, 12:30 am

June 25th, 2007, 4:49 am #2

Another option for the compost bins would be to build our own. One fine template would be what's apparently known as a New Zealand box. I'm not sure, but I think the large pieces of wood being stored in the holding area are CCA treated. ? And this claims that is just the ticket for building the boxes. Anyway, this strongly resembles the type of compost bins we used to have.


New Zealand Box.

The New Zealand box is another simple, efficient design developed by the Auckland Humic Club of New Zealand. There are many variations of the design. The simplest is a wooden structure four feet square by four to five feet high without top or bottom. The wooden sides consist of six-inch wide by 3/4-inch thick boards. Allow at least one half inch of air space between each board so that air may penetrate the heap from all sides. The box is movable. A divider in front slides down between two posts so that when you want to empty the box, you can pull the dividers upward and take them out one by one. Two-by-fours provide the structural framework for this box. Figure 6 illustrates the construction of a variation developed by John Bartok of the University of Connecticut Extension Service.

Materials List
• Eight 2" x 8" x 8'
• Three 2" x 4" x 8'
• 2 pounds 10d galvanized nails (3" long)
Note: All lumber to be CCA Pressure-treated for extended life.

Notes
1.Place two 2" x 4" x 4' long pieces on the ground 4 feet apart with the 11/2 side up. Nail four 2” x 8" x 4' long pieces across the 2" x 4"s starting at one end and leaving about 1 inch between each piece. Repeat this process to build the second side.
2. Dig four holes 12 inches deep and 4 feet apart for the legs.
3. Stand the two sides in the holes and nail four 2" x 8" x 4'3" long pieces across the back, matching the side boards.
4. Nail 2" x 4" x 33" long piece parallel to the 2" x 4" at the front of the bin on each side leaving a 2" groove to slide in the front boards which are 3'9" long. To separate the front boards, drive two nails into the edges leaving about 1" of the nail protruding.
5. To keep the top front from spreading, nail a 4' long piece of 2" x 3" across the top front 2" x 4" or build a removable retainer as shown.
6. Fill in around the posts.
7. Extensive safety reviews with CCA treated wood show no harmful effects to the environment, crops or livestock. The preservative chemicals are not absorbed by plants from contact with the soil. CCA treated wood has a useful life of 30 to 40 years.


http://www.montana.edu/wwwpb/pubs/mt9204.html


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Laura~~
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Laura~~
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Joined: April 1st, 2006, 12:30 am

June 25th, 2007, 5:02 am #3

One last note on compost bins: The compost bins I've been seeing seem so small or short. Maybe my memory of the old bins is colored by Good Old Days syndrome, in which good things of the past seem greater in retrospect than they actually were in life. Anyway, the old bins were about 4' square and about 5' in height, with the piles themselves frequently reaching well over 6' in height. Apparently, this is considered too high. Air cannot circulate into the pile. (I suspect it was for this reason that Phil tried several years ago to insert those large white PVC pipes down into the piles, to vent some air down there.)

So, while the build-it-yourself plan described above is for a 3' height, and I would prefer modifying that up to a 4' height, it would not be a good idea to build again to the old 5' height. That would just once again encourage overfilling, discourage turning, and retard the composting process.
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Laura~~
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Laura~~
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June 26th, 2007, 8:21 pm #4

Okay, here's another one, quite similar, but 3'wide x 5'deep x 3' tall:

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Laura~~
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Laura~~
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Joined: April 1st, 2006, 12:30 am

September 17th, 2007, 8:27 pm #5

I think it has been recently suggested that we build the compost bins out of cinderblocks. That might be alright, except there could be a construction/design problem with adding the front access boards, you know, the ones that lift out one at a time so you can get at the compost to turn or use it. Also, I wonder if a sturdily built cinderblock housing might not let in enough air to keep the pile going without very frequent turnings. ?

I've never seen one made of cinderblocks, but I did find a picture of one:

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