Wooden Compost Bins: Buy or Build Your Own?

Some people prefer the natural look of a wooden compost bin. Although most of the commercial compost bins you see these days are plastic, you do see some wooden compost bins now that are already made.

Here are two wooden composters that I like that you can buy.

This cedar bin has two large sections so that you can keep two compost piles going at once and compost large amounts of materials. It’s a great choice if you like to compost leaves, which take up a lot of space. Cedar is very durable, and it’s also a readily available wood that is eco friendly.

This spruce composter is made from FSC certified sustainable wood. It has a really nice look, and the wood has been heat treated for extra durability. The lid is nice, and the extra large spaces between slats allow good aeration.

But what if you want to build a wooden compost bin yourself? You still have a lot of options.

I really like this booklet that has a bunch of different plans for compost bins that you can build yourself. There are a lot of ideas for different styles of bins, and the instructions are clear.

You can also find plans online to build a wooden composter yourself, if you’re the handy type.

The University of Missouri Extension has free plans for several types of compost bins, including a cedar wooden compost bin.

Any other good sources for wooden composter plans out there that I might have missed?

How to choose a Composting Bin

When choosing a compost bin, you are typically faced with a few different options. For starters, there are multiple styles of composting bins. You may find yourself choosing from between any of the following options:

Tumbling Compost Bin

Photo found on Flickr.com courtesy of Tammy Leino.

Spinning a tumbling compost bin daily can often produce compost in as quickly as 21 days. These bins are also typically above ground, so they are resistant to attacks by pests and animals.

Stationary Compost Bin

Photo found on Flickr.com courtesy of Clean Air Gardening.

Stationary Compost Bins will typically sit in one area of the yard and can vary in size. However, they are excellent if you need to yield a large amount of compost, and are generally properly aerated. It can at times, take longer for materials to break down.

Worm Compost Bin (aka Vermicomposter)

Image found on Flickr.com courtesy of Colonel Mustard.

A worm compost bin is just what it sounds like – it makes use of worms to aid in the breakdown of organic material into compost. Waste is typically broken down quickly with these bins, and is great for producing compost tea – a liquid substance that occurs naturally when producing compost that is high in nutrients and really good for your garden.

Multi-Bin System

A multi – bin system is choice if you have a lot of composting to do, or desire do to composting continually over time. You can have different stages of compost in each bin, and in the end come out with a lot of compost for your lawn or garden.

Once you have spent some quality time looking at the different styles of compost bins, there might be some additional questions or considerations. For example:

How much compost do I need to create?

This all depends on your composting needs. For example, if you are going to be working constantly with a large surface area and are going to require large amounts of compost for your garden, then something such as a multi-bin system may be perfect for you.

What material will I be composting?

Obviously, there are certain things you shouldn’t compost (animal fat, for instance). However, if you are composting a lot of vegetables with some leaves and grass, then it may make sense to purchase a tumbling compost bin or a stationary compost bin – something with easy access from the kitchen in the backyard that can get regular use.

What is the space/surface area I am working with?

This is also an important question to ask, because it can basically determine the size of your bin. If you are working with a smaller surface area, then a large compost bin is not going to make sense.

Other points of interest

It is vital that no matter what the compost bin or style you feel is right for you, it is properly aerated and has a hole large enough for you to get your compost out of. In addition, your bin should be something that is convenient for you – something that you can get to and from easily, and that will be practical for all of your gardening needs. If possible, try and obtain a compost bin that will be above ground and resistant to rodents, so your compost can decompose quickly and efficiently.

Make a Compost Bin

Photo found on Flickr.com courtesy of Collin J.

Making a compost bin is easy – you just have to make sure that it is where rodents can’t get at it, and that it is in a location conveniently placed to where you can get at it frequently if need be. There are many different styles of compost bins you can build, including the following: