Composting and compost bins have gained a lot of popularity recently, and with good reason. Composting allows you to take household waste and turn it into an organic soil conditioner. Although compost bins are easily available in home improvement stores or online, you can build one yourself and save money. Plastic barrels are widely used as composting bins, but you can make one from tree branches collected from your yard or local field for a natural looking bin that will blend with the surrounding landscape.
Building a Compost Bin Using Tree Branches
Measure and mark a 3-foot cubic square in a shaded portion of your lawn or backyard that has well drained soil. You can use spray paint or powdered chalk to mark the square. Ideally, it should be located close to your house so you can easily fill the compost bin with waste, even during inclement weather.
Look for long pliable twigs that are ½-inch thick and relatively straight. You can begin searching for them in your backyard or your local field, and ask your friends or family to collect them as well. These are needed to weave the bin, so make sure you collect them several weeks in advance since you will need plenty.
You can also use an axe to cut large branches that are 3 to 4 inches thick into half, and half again to obtain smaller branches for the bin. Trim the excess off so you are left with branches that have a ½-inch thickness.
Use a mallet to pound a 3- to 4-inch thick branch at each corner of the demarcated square that will serve as corner posts for the bin.
Push three 2-inch thick branches at equal intervals between two corner posts, making sure all the tops are at the same level. These supporting posts will help you weave the latticework for the compost bin.
Position a long ½-inch thick twig or branch at the bottom and behind any one corner post. Extend it in front of the supporting post next to it, ensuring the thinnest part is in front. Run it behind the second supporting post and in front of the third. Extend it until it is behind the second corner post, repeating the weaving procedure until you reach the third corner post. Continue this procedure until you weave the lowermost row of your compost bin. Do not worry if the twig falls short during weaving; simply insert another one next to its corner and continue weaving.
Repeat the weaving procedure for the second row, but start in the opposite direction this time. Hold the twig or branch in front of the corner post where you started weaving earlier and extend it from branch to branch until you complete all four corner posts. Continue weaving the branches into your bin until you have at least 37 to 42 rows for a 3-foot high bin.