Instructables
Picture of Compost Barrel

I like to recycle my pots of soil after the growing season. I have been using a plastic trash can to store and compost my potting soil, but it does not allow me to rotate the mix as I add organic material (leaves, grass clippings, etc.). I have seen several compost barrels on the Instructables site and wanted to make my own.

So ... here is my version.

Step 1: Concept

Picture of Concept

My project started off with an idea of what I wanted - a barrel to make it easier for me to compost and recycle my potting soil. But I wanted to use the materials I had on hand. I had a barrel, but it did not have a top or lid. I had lots of spare lumber. The only item I did not have were the rollers. I also wanted to not put any additional holes in my barrel. One was because I did not  have any hinges to make a side hatch to access my barrel and I did not have the original top to cap off the end. I also wanted no side hatch or hole, because I might decide to recycle the barrel and turn it into a rain barrel later. So I came up with my current design.

List of Materials:

Barrel
1/4 inch plywood
2x4 pressure treated timber of various lengths
4 small casters
nails
wood screws

Tools Needed/Used:

Jigsaw
Drill (for screwing and drilling pilot holes)
Phillips head screw driver
Hammer
Saw (I had a table saw but any saw to cut wood with will work)
Pencil

Total Cost of Project:

$8.50 for the casters - all other material was on hand or salvaged.
 
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Bubbler1 year ago
I like this idea. I have a pickle barrel but no lid, and never knew what to do with the thing. Now that I need a rolling composter, I'll make the lid and all of the other parts. I'll use wider casters so as not to indent the barrel when it's getting heavy. Thanks for sharing. =)
breumer2 years ago
Awesome idea!
flashmahn2 years ago
If you place at random some holes and the through the holes 2,3, and 4" bolts with washers and nuts on the inside fror additional strength, these will help as extra drag to help break up compost while spinning. Also I used an old pair of inline skates cut in half, so where you have one wheel I have 2 (8 total) these help to lend stablity and have 2 contact points in each corner. I am working on a new version, trying several different ways to make it people powered. Everyone has motors, but I like the idea of a hi ratio hand crank or a bike pedal system.. any ideas?
Jeeper1863 years ago
I really like your idea of using casters. This is the first time I have seen this. I was thinking of building a composter today and you have done a great job! Thanks for the great ible, and let us know how your casters work out. I will be trying larger ones as I have them laying around.
bqbowden (author)  Jeeper1863 years ago
The larger casters should work better than what I used. But, remember to spread them farther apart than I did. I still have to change that on my original design. Also, you will need to put something inside to help turn the material. That is the other item I still have to add. I have seen folks use nails and/or screws stuck into the sides. I was thinking of something else, but not sure. Once I have mad the changes I will post and let folks know how it works out.
dmccomb3 years ago
Used potting soil does not need to be run through the composting process - it will actually slow down composting of the organic materials. If you only have a couple of houseplant pots to deal with, throwing that into the compost pile won't be a problem, but if you have a lot of container plants, it's better to run the compost pile separately and just put the used soil in a big bin, then mix it with compost as you refill the containers.
bqbowden (author)  dmccomb3 years ago
Thanks for the tip - I had not thought about that. I have been doing things the other way as you suggested, but I wanted something easier to turn my mixture with. Hence my barrel.