I've seen a few compost bin designs online and took a little from each one and came up with this.
you can take yard clipping ,leaves and kitchen scraps. any organic material will work ,just never put meat in a compost bin. when its done cooking you have nutrient rich soil that you can use for all kinds of gardening applications
Step 1: Materials
3 2x4 x 8 pressure treated
1 galvinized chain link fence post
4 3.5inch 1/4 bolts with washers and nuts
6 or 8 6" 60d nails
one 55 gal barrel (must be food grade)
one piano hinge
one box of 10-32 3/4" nuts and bolts ( make sure they fit your hinges and latches)
paint if you want . I use barn paint from tractor supply co . its cheap and it doesn't require primer!
now I bought most of my materials but you can use what ever you have on hand also. the whole project only cost me 50 dollars so its not that expensive any way
Step 2: Assembly
first cut 2x4s in half
take 2 2x4s measure and make a mark half way down both of them . then center them and bolt ( you can use nails but bolts work better) them together.
repeat for other side.
you should have two giant X's
it doesn't matter which way they go,so pick one side as the bottom measure up 3 inches from each foot for the bottom braces.
now attach your other 2 boards with nails or screw them together.
your frame is now done and you can start to work on the barrel.
you can cut your bottom braces a few inches longer than the barrel for a better fit but you don't have to .
Step 3: Post Hole
now get a hole saw to match your post and drill in the center of each end of the barrel.drill a hole and put a bolt through the end to keep it from sliding off the frame. you'll also need to trim the post to length.
Step 4: The Lid
this is the most difficult part of the whole project take your time to cut , drill and line everything up.
I use 4 latches because the heat from the compost can warp the lid and the plastic is somewhat flexible anyway. the piano hinge adds stability also.
start by marking the door out. I used a carpenters pencils , its a little hard to mark mark on the plastic.
then drill 4 1/4" holes in the corners.
cut out door with a jig saw . i made mine big enough for my shovel the fit in just use good judgement and dont make it to big or small.
first drill and bolt the hinge to the barrels first.
now drill and bolt the lid on . drill two holes and bolt them together first just on case they don't line up. the drill bit will try to slip on the plastic so start your drill slowly.
make a handle out of what ever , a simple finger hole would work.
now drill and attach the bolt side of the latch first then slid bolt open and use it to line up bolt reciever. close each bolt when you go to install the next one so the stay lined up. take your time aand it should be ok
Step 5: Ventilation Holes
on the opposite side of barrel from the lid mark off 4 evenly spaced 1/4 holes across the barrel.then measure 6 inches down from each hole till you all gone all the way around. just make sure it has some ventilation. this would be a minimal amount .
now randomly drill some hole for the spikes . drill a hole a little small than the spike and just nail them in. these help brake up the material when you rotate the barrel speeding up the composting.
you should use 4 to 8 spikes what ever works best . you can always pull them out.
Step 6: Add Compost!!!!
the only other thing you could do is paint it black . they make paint that will stick to plastic. I live in south Florida so thats really not necessary but if you live in northern climates you might need to find a good sunny spot and place it there! the advantages of this barrel composer are quite a few. its quick, cheap and effective. no bugs or rats, almost no odor. you can use it in a very small yard and not bother the neighbors.
I square foot garden ( mel is a genius ) and buying fertilizer and compost can add a lot of expense you don't need. I save a lot of money growing my own food and you would amazed how much food you can grow this way .good compost can double your harvest!
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