Compost Bin




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

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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)
4 latches
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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131 Discussions


Answer 4 months ago

No, this system uses bacteria and heat. Worms not required.


8 years ago on Introduction

Great plan! I built a couple, but now wondering if it the best way to compost because it dries out so fast. Any ideas on keeping the compost moist?

Barrel Composter.jpg
2 replies

Reply 5 months ago

water it every so often
that keeps it moist. I have my compost in ground I water it and cover it with a tarp but I really need this barral close to my home so I'm going to try this.


Reply 4 years ago

Hey dogtubs, I like your design, can you tell me the materials used in making it. ..?


1 year ago

I wonder how do you harvest the humus from this composter? I mean, is it possible to take the humus gradually along time?


2 years ago

Great idea and plans! Mine came together nicely. I made one small modification, which was to cut a 4" notch in the lip of the barrel (the right hand side in your photo) to "lock" the barrel in place against one of the supports. I'm sure once I get more compost in there it won't be spin as freely, but it was handy to have even during construction.

you absolutely can compost meat scraps, we've been doing it for years. just make sure it's in smaller bits and mix it with a lot of browns

1 reply

Meat does of course compost beautifully, the only reason you see it not recommended everywhere is to avoid attracting vermin. It also smells worse than rotting vegetable matter.

Rotating compost bins made from plastic would be difficult for vermin to access I would think though.


7 years ago on Introduction

A: My mom and I are in a dispute. She is an environmental biologist, and says just piling the organic matter and spraying it with water will produce compost within a month to two months. I think that an enclosed bin with vents will work more quickly. She pitches vegtable scraps in her garden or put them in a pile with horse or rabbit leavings, and I collect them along with horse and rabbit leavings and mix them with a 1-3 nitrogen rich to organic inert matter (leaves, paper, twigs [twigs rot slowly] etc.,) then spritz every day and churn every several days. There does seem to be a hype with rotating bins. Any second opinion from others who have tried both?

B: I use an old plastic white printer box from the days printers were giant turned on its side. It had four wheels, but two broke off. This is working, but do you think I should paint it black? Not much visible light can get through. I think it is 1/8 to 3/16 inches thick, but I am not sure of its composition? I think the white is good on the inside but not out. Help, please?

1 reply

4 years ago on Introduction

I made one just like that! Thanks for the great post. If you are into composting you should checkout


5 years ago on Introduction

perhaps a couple pieces attached across the bottom from the back feet to the front feet, so the weight isn't borne by the bolts/nails at the middle of the X.


5 years ago on Introduction

let's modify this great idea.

2x4 X let's call this the foot (where it touches the ground) and the arms (up in the air)

There is no need for the arms beyond the size to hold the post in barrel. So move the cross up near arm end of 2x4. This effectively raises the drum for easy emptying into a wheelbarrow (we have to put this compost elsewhere)

Between the two Xs there are braces.near the feet. Remove one from one side because it will be in the way of the wheelbarrow. Two braces on the backside or just move up nearer to barrel on one side.

We run a pig farm. Use their feces for a bio digester then load the spent feces into compost maker add other vegetative material and waste from concrete plant (minerals) <btw trace minerals is what makes kickass soils.

If you are in the States contact your local ag agent to get soil samples done and adjust the mineral content accordingly.

Compost is heavy, so making this easy to unload is important.

If you get a back ache. Go to.

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5 years ago on Introduction

It looks great and want to make one but I have few questions. I want to know how many weeks does it take to compost kitchen waste. Also, can I remove composted wastes to make room for additional waste or do I have to wait until all waste is composted?