Smart new compost bins

You will know if you have visited that Sue is passionate about compost. Say that you are interested in making better compost and any garden visit will be at least an hour longer than you had planned! Well, you can’t make super compost without the proper receptacles and some of ours have recently been looking rather ropey.

We have seven bins altogether; five in the yard, one by the greenhouse and one by the fruit cages. The original three in the yard were the ones requiring a bit of tlc. OK, more than tlc; a complete demolition and rebuild.

Built some many years go out of tanalised timber, they have undergone several partial rebuilds, but this time most of the posts had rotted through and the sides had been re-inforced with old wriggly tin. As anyone who uses tanalised softwood knows it ‘ain’t what it used to be’. Bearing that in mind a more long-term solution was needed.

I got quotes for doing it in sweet chestnut and oak throughout, but £900+ seemed a tad too much to pay for such a utilitarian structure. Our good friend Mick the Pond, suggested using the poles left over from making the treehouse as the uprights with tanalised for the sides, which don’t come into contact with the soil and can be additionally protected by the ubiquitous wriggly tin.

He helped me set up my planer to make two straight sides on each and I was in business. Here you can see the old bins with the new poles ready to be installed

Of course here at Nant-y-Bedd, compost making is an ongoing process so all three bins had compost, at various stages, in them. The first task therefore was to clear out two of the bins so that the long side and back bin could be constructed and thus make a place for the contents of bin 3 to be moved into. I hope you are keeping up!! In short of lot of muck-fork work had to be done before any construction.

The new poles went in quite easily as most of the old ones came out with the help of the crowbar. usually in at least two pieces, so rotten were they. In went the new – concreted in so I hope they will outlast me as I don’t want to be cracking concrete in my 90’s!

There aren’t really any pics of the work in progress – we’re not very good at remembering to do that – but here’s a few of the completed works.

Finished with the tin installed. Looking into the centre of the installation.

The front sections are loose slats which need to be easily removable and which have cuased problems over the years. I was thinking of making the channels out of metal, but again the cost was really too high. Tripping over some oak pieces that I bought some time back for repairing benches gave me the answer. Oak will be so much stronger than softwood, so hopefully will work that much better.

Detail of the top of the oak guide piece in the centre of the front.
With a couple of the drop boards removed
Oreo approves of the new oak pieces – perfect claw sharpeners!
“there’s tidy” as they say round here.
and of course we can’t have an article about compost bins without seeing the real thing!

There’ll be plenty of opportunity to gaze in awe over this modern construction miracle when we re-open next year.

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