A Simple Compost Bin

Many thanks to Roger Cook and "Ask This Old House" for the idea.

Links to more info are at the bottom of this page.

This compost bin is 4 feet high and about 3 feet in diameter: We like the green-coated wire as it is much less visible (translation: less ugly) than bare chicken-wire.


Another view.  It's mid September, we've removed the past year's leftovers (to left of bin) and have already started the next batch:


Use 4-foot high, green-wire fencing, and cut it to the length that is appropriate for the diameter you want.  To get a 2" overlap between the ends of the fence, use these lengths:

To get this


With this much


Cut the fencing

to this length:

3' 2" 9' 7"
3-1/2' 2" 11' 2"
4' 2" 12' 9"
4-1/2' 2" 14' 4"
5' 2" 15' 10"

The fence is bent into a cylinder, and fastened together with 3 clips of some sort.  We used the dog-leash type of spring-loaded fasteners, but really just about any type of clip or clamp will do.  The idea is to easily unfasten the fence in order to get at the compost for mixing or turning.

Finally, use some kind of stakes or posts to keep the wire from blowing away. We drove three 4-foot poles about a foot into the ground, just inside the wire fence.  The little tabs or hooks point inward, away from the wire, so that the entire wire cage may be lifted up without snagging on the poles' hooks.

I imagine that simple tent stakes would also serve to keep the cage from blowing away.

You can find out more about composting and building compost bins here:

2-page publication from the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service of Auburn University

The Science and Engineering of Composting is provided by Cornell University


Updated 17 Sep 2007 .

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