I was pretty determined to build a composting system before the new year. We need it because we're working on our first garden right now and compost will help the soil in the years to come. Also we have chickens now and composting their manure is a really good way to clean our their pen. I saw a three bin composting system in a magazine with directions on how to build one. This required a trip to the hardware store in which I learned it would cost nearly $250.00 to build it. I decided it wasn't worth it and took Lewie's advice on how to build it out of recycled materials and this past weekend we built one that was almost FREE. We like free and we like recycling.
7 wood pallets
Heavy gage wire
Staples / staple gun
First, you have to get seven wood pallets. We got them for free and all we had to do was ask. Almost every store has skids lying around somewhere. We got ours from home improvement stores. Just ask the manager, they are usually willing to give you a few. If they are beat up or missing planks, that's fine because the second you start using it it will start rotting. It doesn't have to be perfect.
Stand your pallets up so that you have two that meet and form a corner. Using your wire, wire these together. We did one wire at the top and one wire at the bottom. It may seem unsteady at first but pallets are heavy and when the whole thing it put together it's not going anywhere.
Next, you'll use two pieces: one pallet to continue down the row and another in the middle of those two to form the next wall on your first compartment. Again, put them together with wire. It should look like this:
Continue to build it in this way completing two more sections using a total of seven pallets. Then start stapling your hardware clothe. I used 1/4" hardware clothe and was able to buy it in a big roll at a home improvement store. This will be the most expensive thing you buy for the compost bin but it's worth it to keep all your precious compost from spilling out everywhere. Starting on the inside of one bin wrap your hardware clothe all the way around the bin on the inside only. Staple it in place. Continue to do this in every section.
Your three bin compost system should look like this when it's done:
This video is great if you want more information on how to use the three bin system. We may end up adding doors in the future on the front so we got a few more pallets then needed just in case. It's so nice to have a place to put our kitchen scraps now and it was fun to make. It also turned out to be a family event because we had no less then two cats climbing trees around us for a better vantage point to our construction: