Making a Compost Box

Making a compost box is very simple, requires little materials, and is great for the environment.

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Step 1: Making the Box

The box should be 2-4-8. Keep in mind that your box has no top. You can make your box out of one 4-8 piece of wood, two 2-4 pieces of wood, and two 2-8 pieces of wood.

NOTE: you can make your boxes different sizes, just use scale factors for the dirt, worms, ect.

Step 2: Starting the Box

The two basic elements that make up compost are green garden debris (grass clippings or old annuals) and brown garden debris (dry leaves). Green ingredients are high in nitrogen and brown materials are high in carbon. All these items are required for a successful box. Use one part green to two part brown materials break down fastest.

Step 3: Adding the Dirt

Add in about 2 shovelfuls of garden soil to help the the microbial activity in your pile.

Step 4: Adding Worms(this Step Is Optional)

Although this is not required, it helps to decompose. A 2-4-8 box should have about 500(you can use more for better results) worms.

Step 5: Checking Moisture

Compost also needs the correct amount of moisture to breakdown. Compost with the right moisture level should feel like a damp, wrung-out sponge.Check your compost pile's moisture level once a week and adjust it if necessary by adding water to increase moisture or more browns to help dry the pile out.

Step 6: Keeping Air

Turn the pile once a week to move material from the outside of the pile in. Turning also keeps the pile from compacting, which reduces airflow and slows down decomposition.

Step 7: Checking

You should have finished compost in about two months. You'll know your compost is finished when it no longer heats up and you can't identify any of the original materials. The compost should be dark brown, moist and earthy smelling. Dig finished compost into your garden's soil. You can use partially composted material as mulch.

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    10 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    This is one pretty [beautiful] project, BUT...  it's a lot of work for something that's just going to weather and rot.

    I've been composting for over 30 years and have given up on any containers.  I just use large unconstrained piles [4-6 feet in diameter and 4-5 feet high to start].  I also did, and still 'run' several piles at the same time.  I never mix new 'stuff' into a 'mature' pile.

    When I did 'contain' my compost piles, I used 4 old discarded wooden pallets and secured the corners with baling wire.  When it was time to turn the pile, I just remove dthe wire corner ties, moved the pallets over about 4 feet and reassembled with the baling wire ties

    I do the same procedure now, but without any containment.

    To move a pile, I break the compost up somewhat, and then spade or shovel the material into a 'new' pile.  During the transfer, if needed, I properly 'water' the material.

    When using the pallet method, and the pallets begin to disentegrate, I just replaced with new used pallets, and broke the old rotting ones up and put in the bottom of the newer pile to enhance air circulation.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I think the information is very useful! Use your imagination on making a box. Use 2x6s (4) Screw them together to form four corners then use 1x4s or 2x4s the length to fit the space you have. Use sheet rock screws to fasten them to the 2x6 corners you've made and then ... good luck making compost. If you want to make a good drawing go to Google Sketchup7, download it, do the tutorials and make a drawing of what you want it to look like.


    Since he just borrowed the pictures from the web..... I don't think construction details will be forthcoming.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

     Regardless whether the box is built or not, detailed pictures could be made or at least a brief outline of how you cut the boards to construct it.  I totally agree with the others, this is not an instructable about how to "Make a compost box" and the title should be changed.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Then I'd suggest changing the title to something like, "Starting and Managing a Compost Box".


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Yes, this Instructable is mis-titled. It is not about how to make a compost box, but rather, how to compost.


    10 years ago on Step 1

    Where is the "making" portion of this instructable? At least give us a close-up of the joints you used or a rough drawing.