My attempt to move from Southern California and create a happy and sustainable urban homestead in North Dakota, with some musings on life with deaf dogs, a gluten free spouse, and the occasional mischievous garden gnome. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy.



Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hand Built 3-Bin Compost System

Here's the great unveiling, the new Deaf Dogs and Benevolent Gnomes 3-Bin compost system extravaganza.  Yes it is hyperbole to call a compost bin an extravaganza, but this sucker has been quite a while in the making.  Like, a year in the making. 

Why the heck did it take so long? Well I did build it by hand, and I mean literally by hand, using only hand tools - hand saws, hand drills, screwdrivers, hammer.  So that certainly added to the time it took to construct it.  It also just sort of lingered in the garage for months in various states of semi-assembly.  Since my garage isn't climate controlled (not heated or cooled), there were many times in the summer when it was too hot to work on it, and in the winter when it was way too cold. 
3-Bin Composting system with removable front slats, which make working and turning the compost much easier.
So it ended up that the compost bin became a rainy day project, something to do indoors when it was rainy and I couldn't play in the garden.  Thus it took close to a year to build.  And yes, there was a healthy dose of procrastination involved as well.


So why build it by hand using no power tools at all?  That might be a more philosophical and esoteric answer than I have space (and you, gentle reader have the patience) for or words to properly explain.  But suffice to say I like to do things differently than others.  When it takes so much effort to cut a board or drill a hole for a carriage bolt, you tend to not only 1) make damn sure you've measured correctly but also 2) appreciate each step, each board cut, and each hole drilled.  Too many things we do are immediate gratification oriented, taking the time to appreciate and enjoy the process makes me respect the end product that much more.  I also wanted to make sure I enjoyed and was decent at any of these woodworking projects before I spent any money on expensive power tools. 
Even in late afternoon the area stays in the shade, not a useful place for growing - but plenty useful for composting!!
Barely visible, newly planted hostas should help hide the compost bin from view.
I took this picture a while ago, after we had just planted some hostas and "wild" geraniums.  These have grown up and help to hide the compost bin from view.  I'll post another picture in a few weeks to show how the plants have grown and help to shield the bin from gawkers and paparazzi on the street. 
Hopefully this compost bin can hold up for several years and enable us to never have to throw away another piece of green compostable material (unless it's a weed or diseased plant, they'll still go in the trash).  It should also provide a ton of organic compost to enrich our soil in the garden. 

In case you want to build one yourself, I got the schematics and directions here.

4 comments:

Amy - Get Busy Gardening said...

Wow, how funny. You built the exact same compost bin as we did! Home Depot cut all the wood for us, so we were able to get it done in one weekend. Good for you for doing this all by hand. Wow, that is a lot of work! Here's the post I wrote last year about our compost bin building project... Weekend Project: Large Compost Bin I love it!

Amy

El Gaucho said...

Thanks. It does hold a whole lot of compost, which is great. I spent a few years after we moved in being sad at every compostable item that had to get thrown in the rubbish bin.

Your bin also looks great. I like the lids especially. Even though I opted to not make a lid to keep the cost down and to enable me to heap more yard waste on top. I also have another covered bin for kitchen scraps that is secure enough to keep all the varmints out. It's nice to hear that there are others in the area who lover their composting!

Rosemary said...

Congratulations on getting the job done. It looks efficient and neat, best part is you did it yourself. Let the composting begin!

Donna said...

Nice job on your bins. Makes composting a breeze. My compost container now has what I think is a pumpkin growing in it. I never grew pumpkins and this plant has 18 inch wide leaves. Must be good compost because the plant grows like crazy. Bad thing, I cannot get to my compost now. I even started watering the plant.