$5 Compost Bin: Get your FREE Pallets Now!

I’ll admit it – my husband is more of a gardener than I am! I love to cook with the produce, but he definitely has the green thumb in the family!

A reader wrote and asked if I’d show the back yard (before garden beds).


And after.

So where’s the compost bin?

Down in the corner of our property, by the garden beds. And they only cost around $5 to build!

Seriously, $5?
For under $5 my husband built a 3 bin compost system, measuring 8 x 4. The $5 cost was for buying screws.

Why 8 x 4?
Because that’s the size of the FREE pallets that he picked up from the local Grange (or garden center)! He kept it in those dimensions to make the least number of modifications. It wasn’t the ideal size that he had in mind, but because of the time restraint that Paul was under, he made it work!

Did you know that the Grange Co-Op will give you these pallets for FREE? Sometimes they are stacked “20” high!

Why a 3 bin system?
This 3-bin system was built in less than 3 hours with a few modifications to the existing pallets, but not much!

~ It’s the easiest way to turn over a compost pile
~ You turn the compost twice
~ By the time it gets to the “third” bin – it’s the final compost ready for the garden

Why compost?
~ Compost adds nutrients back into the soil, but not as much as some people think
~ It’s a great way to break the soil up
~ You can use partially decomposed compost as a weed barrier
~ Compost helps your soil retain water

A Balanced Diet – 4:1
Paul follows the 4:1 rule. One (greens) to four (browns) is how we feed our compost pile!

Greens: grass clippings, yard debris.

Browns: kitchen scraps (veggie and fruit peelings), coffee grounds, leaves and straw.

For carbon-rich ingredients you can even add shredded newspaper or small amounts of ash from your wood stove! And even Abby’s hamster droppings go into the pile! We also use straw around our compost bin, which provides another layer of protection from wind and cold!

In the winter
This winter we’ll layer our pile. We alternate brown to green – the layers help insulate the pile, trapping heat and gases inside. You want to cause as little disturbance as possible to the layers of insulation.

In the spring
When the spring comes, we’ll start turning the pile. During warm spells we’ll even “water” the pile, leaving it damp, but not soaking. The warmer temperatures keep the microbes well supplied with oxygen.

What about tools?
Did you know that almost all of our garden tools were purchased at yard sales? Over the years we’ve picked them up at these sorts of sales, rarely paying more than $2 a tool!

We live in town on a city lot, and we’ve prioritized growing a garden. And for the Reluctant Entertainer, I can guarantee that you and your guests will so enjoy eating your organic produce!

So, after reading this post, are you inspired to compost?

If you can’t find free pallets, you can buy them online, here.

12 comments on “$5 Compost Bin: Get your FREE Pallets Now!”

  1. Pingback: Building raised garden beds on a city lot | Oregon Women's Report

  2. Pingback: Gardening and Building Raised Beds in the City — Reluctant Entertainer

  3. Pingback: Free Pallets: Trellises for Happy Roses! — Reluctant Entertainer

  4. Great post – your post looks so much better than my post on composting recently! That’s the difference between being a real writer and a newbie!

    We got our compost bin subsidised by the Scottish government so it was pretty cheap. I’ve almost filled it already though. I’m thinking about getting another one for next year then we can be filling one and using the other then the opposite the following year.

    I’ve never seen the 3 steo before and the way of turing – that’s a great idea. We’re just experimenting in our garden and it’s great to read about the experiences of other gardeners.

    I hope you’re enjoying your garden in the sunshine this afternoon.
    .-= Jade @ No Longer 25´s last blog ..Ten Thoughts: Useful Spanish Phrases =-.

  5. I love your compost. We built one a couple of years ago but after reading this I can see where we goofed a little. I know what we will be doing towards the end of summer :)
    .-= Tickled Red´s last blog ..We Dropped the Ball =-.

  6. My parents always composted (with your 3 bin method) and I have a plastic barrel but I never seem to follow through on it. You know what they say about good intentions… I like your setup. Ingenious.

    I have heard of people composting in plastic rubbermaid boxes in their garage. They say it works marvelously but I am still a little skeptical. I have also heard to store your scraps in the freezer and that allows less frequent trips to the compost plus it supposedly speeds up decomposing…

    Do you think those pallets are made of pressure treated wood? That is my hangup with building raising beds (PT lumber is bad) and cedar is hard to find.
    .-= Ginger´s last blog ..Salsa Chicken =-.

  7. I was very excited to receive a compost bin last year for my birthday! It’s a heavy duty plastic bin that stands upright, but I haven’t been good at turning and such. Must get on that.
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..Second Peninsula 2010 =-.

  8. Wow! You totally made the whole compost thing make since! Thanks!
    .-= Robin´s last blog ..How to Monday….Pack for the WUM Perfect Beach Vacation =-.

  9. Looks good Sandy. I’m hoping to get my garden in this week.

  10. Actually… yes. We had one at our former house, but we never put in gardens here let alone a compost bin. I saw some materials at my niece’s farm recently which would make a perfect bin. Your post DOES make me want to go ahead and start a new one this fall.
    .-= Debbie´s last blog ..Smiling Back =-.

  11. I want to do that, but I mainly give the scraps to my chickens…. I do put citrus peals in our bin..not much progress!
    .-= Enid´s last blog ..OK trip =-.

  12. I’m still trying to figure out how to adopt a composting bin and container garden to my post stamp of a back yard. The amount of organics that we wrap in plastic and put in the landfill, along with the amount we put down the garbage disposal, is a little bit scary. They’re having huge problems in the southeast with the disposal part, as water treatment plants weren’t designed for the large amounts of food and grease that we now dump. In the old days, bacon grease was captured and reused, but now it all goes down the drain, and city maintenance folks are having a heck of a time retrofitting their pipes and upgrading their treatment plants to account for the change. If we would all compost and recycle, we’d save money in the long run.
    .-= The Training Table´s last blog ..Salsa is as Salsa does =-.

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