Compost is like a miracle for soil -- it loosens heavy clay so plants can thrive and helps sandy soil hold nutrients and moisture better. Plus, it encourages beneficial microorganisms that help your plants grow strong and healthy. Plus, as it breaks down, compost feeds your plants organically. Compost piles aren't always pretty, but we'll show you how to make the easy, attractive bin shown here.
Step 1: Gather Your Materials
You don't need much to build this compost bin. Here's what we used:
-- 2 4X8-foot lattice panels (each cut into 2 4X4-foot pieces)
-- 4 2X4s cut 5 feet long
-- 2 Large clothesline hooks
-- Drill, screwdriver, or hammer
-- Screws or nails
-- Tape measure
Note: For convenience, we had the lattice panels and 2X4s cut by the staff at our local home- improvement center. You can also easily cut them yourself with a hand saw.
Step 2: Give it Some Support
Decide where you want your compost bin. (Hint: You'll probably use it most if it's someplace easily accessible.) Then measure out its location as a 4X4-foot square. Mark each of the corners of the square; they'll be the posts that hold up the walls of your compost bin.
Dig the hole for your first support post. The hole should be about 1 foot deep. Insert a 2X4 post and fill the hole in well with soil. Tamp down the soil around the post to keep it sturdy.
Step 3: Measure Twice, Dig Once
After you're finished with your first post, hold the lattice against it to verify the position of the next post. This will prevent you from having to re-dig if the two posts don't line up correctly.
Once you know exactly where you need the second post, dig that hole, fill in with soil, and hold your lattice to the 2X4s to double-check the distance once more. Repeat these steps with the remaining two posts.
Note: You'll want the front two 2X4 posts placed so the 4-inch side faces out; it'll make it easier to attach the gate later.
Step 4: Attach the Lattice
Next comes the fun part: Installing the walls. Line up the lattice sheets against the posts and screw three of sheets in place. If you don't have a drill or electric screwdriver, you can use a traditional one but it's a bit more work. Leave one wall unattached; it will act as your bin's front gate.
Step 5: Create a Gate
We wanted the bin's front gate to be secure yet removable, so we could easily add organic matter and dig out the finished compost. So we used clothesline hooks to hang the lattice on.
Hold the remaining sheet of lattice against the posts to determine the best location for your hooks. Mark their location and drill the holes.
Step 6: Secure it in Place
Tighten the nuts on both sides of the clothesline hook to secure the hook in the post. Turn the nuts as tight as you can to keep your gate in place.
Then just fill your compost bin with organic matter and reap the benefits!