compost bin pic

Compost Bin

The first thing that we added to the homestead was a 3-bay compost bin.  Actually, the first thing we added was a puppy, but that’s another story…back to compost bins.

My 3-bay compost bin was constructed from 10 pallets and 26-inch heavy duty zip ties.  I re-purposed about 12 bricks to elevate the corners of the bins off the ground. I also used six hook and eye latches to make the front pallets removable.

Why Compost?

My philosophy on sustainability includes wasting as little as possible.  The short-term goal was to find a productive way to dispose of kitchen and yard waste, which meant not just tossing it into the landfill. The long-term goal was to provide nutrient dense material for the vegetable garden.  I wanted the design to be easy and cheap – no sense in wasting time, energy or money.  So in keeping with the sustainability philosophy, I looked around the homestead and came up with a design that utilized what I had on hand or could find for free.


Pallets are readily available at home improvement, feed and various retail stores.  Always check with the store manager before taking them.  Also, make sure they are marked with “HT” to indicate they were heat treated.  Some are treated with chemicals and that’s not a good choice if you will be using your compost in a vegetable garden.

Getting pallets took a few weeks.  Sorting through pallets is much easier with two people, so bring a friend…preferably one with a pickup truck.  You want to inspect for broken slats, nails or staples that are loose, and the “HT” stamp.  It was also a surprise to me that not all pallets are the same size and configuration. I designed mine with the slates horizontal to the ground, so it was important for me to find pallets that had its support beams configured in this way.

Assembly day

We cleared and leveled an area that was about 4 feet by 12 feet.  That process took longer than the assembly, which took less than an hour.

Place the first two pallets in an L-shape and zip tie in three locations. I built the back the entire back wall of all of the bins, then the end pieces and dividers.  Last, I put on the removable front pieces.  Hopefully, the pictures will help to illuminate this process.  There are tons of videos online if you need more instruction and here’s one video on compost bins I recommend.

The fronts were attached with eye hook latches.  This allows one or all of the front pallets to be removed.  This feature makes it super simple to move composted material to another bin when it reaches the proper state of decomposition.  It also means that a wheel barrow can easily dump or load material from the bins.

Finished product

I am happy to report that this system is working well, and there is completed compost material to add to my vegetable beds this spring.

chickens tending the compost bin

Posted by Still Sacred

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