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Author Topic: Size of compost bin  (Read 703 times)

edstrong

  • Joined Jun 2015
Size of compost bin
« on: February 23, 2021, 05:53:33 pm »
I'm about to redo our composting system and plan to create some new bins out of corrugated metal sheets and wooden posts. I have (within reason) as much space as needed in the veg garden: I may build a line of them, perhaps 3-4 so I can rotate the contents.

How big is the optimal size for a compost bin? I want each of mine to be big enough to generate enough heat to compost well but small enough to be manageable. I was thinking of perhaps 4 foot square. I'll be putting in a mixture of kitchen waste, garden waste, chicken coop mess, some grass clippings (no weeds though, I just don't trust the composting to be good enough to kill all traces). Thoughts please!

macgro7

  • Joined Feb 2016
  • Leicester
Re: Size of compost bin
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2021, 07:33:08 pm »
As big as the amount you want to produce  ;)

I chuck most waste inside the chicken run. They do all the work scratching and turning.
Growing loads of fruits and vegetables! Raising dairy goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits on 1/2 acre in the middle of the city of Leicester, using permaculture methods.

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
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Re: Size of compost bin
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2021, 09:01:26 pm »
Yup, then you rake the chicken run, put it in the compost bin with some greenery and get good compost a couple of months later
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
Re: Size of compost bin
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2021, 12:52:43 am »
The ideal size is usually suggested as a metre square, but if you can manage a bit bigger and you have enough stuff to fill it, then go for it, remembering that the heaps go down quickly, and your volume includes depth, when you are considering heat retention. Also, what you can manage might depend on your height for reaching to the back.
If you have a row of bins, then they each keep eachother warm in the row (but you might find that metal gets quite cold at the ends - maybe insulate it with wood).  Be sure to design them to make it easy to turn one into the next from time to time.  It's hefty work, which you should really do a couple of times a year.  I couldn't manage that, but my grandson loves turning the heaps and makes a point of doing all three in little more than an hour.  He's young, strong and fit, so be realistic about what you can manage. I had originally planned a pair of compost heaps in such a way they could be turned with a tractor front fork loader.  It didn't work though as at the time of year it needed to be done, the backwards and forwards repeat motion just chewed up the ground horribly.  So we scrapped those and build a row of three.  I have heard of people turning their heaps using a rotavator, but that hasn't worked well for us.


I actually don't mix my animal cleanings with the vegetable waste, but compost the two separately.  This is so I have rich FYM and milder compost for different purposes.  We also collect the used straw from the sheep field shelters every couple of years, mince it with a rotavator and use that on the outside beds - grows wonderful spuds!
« Last Edit: February 24, 2021, 05:34:30 pm by Fleecewife »
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the the lifeblood of your land.

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Size of compost bin
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2021, 01:36:45 pm »
Ours are just 4 pallets in a square. But if you want more info, Charles Dowding is taking compost making to a higher level than most of us. Good youtube videos.

edstrong

  • Joined Jun 2015
Re: Size of compost bin
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2021, 06:11:42 pm »
Thanks for the feedback everyone.

As I'm going to make the bins out of sheets of corrugated steel the sizes of these will likely define the size of each bin - 6 foot long and 3 foot high. The width is up to me as the end panels can overlap: perhaps 5 foot wide for these. And a total of three bins, to start with. Should be easy to transfer contents from one to the other as they will be separated by a single sheet (just need the strength to lift everything over the 3 foot).

edstrong

  • Joined Jun 2015
Re: Size of compost bin
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2021, 09:58:15 pm »
I ended up making a four bin structure, each bin 6 foot by 4 foot with 3 1/2 foot sides, using sheets of corrugated steel panels and 4 inch wooden posts driven straight into the ground (no concrete). Probably over-engineered but it should last a long time. Total cost just over 200.


Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
Re: Size of compost bin
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2021, 11:42:57 pm »
Oh very elegant  :D . A lovely shade of sky blue - mine is lime green and rather garish by comparison.  Let us know how it works out and if the compost you make is good.
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the the lifeblood of your land.

Q

  • Joined Apr 2013
Re: Size of compost bin
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2021, 08:13:31 am »
Looks a great result   :thumbsup:

i may be suffering from compost bin envy..
If you cant beat 'em then at least bugger 'em about a bit. :innocent:

GribinIsaf

  • Joined Aug 2015
  • Montgomeryshire
    • Gribin Isaf
Re: Size of compost bin
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2021, 11:27:11 am »
Probably over-engineered but it should last a long time.

If you think that is over-engineered, we are just finishing our dream of having the full Charles Dowding:

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
    • Facebook
Re: Size of compost bin
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2021, 12:05:20 pm »
That's more salubrious than a glamping pod  :roflanim: :roflanim: :roflanim:
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

macgro7

  • Joined Feb 2016
  • Leicester
Re: Size of compost bin
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2021, 05:04:20 pm »
Probably over-engineered but it should last a long time.

If you think that is over-engineered, we are just finishing our dream of having the full Charles Dowding:
This looks like a perfect goat shed! My goats a living in a shack made of pallets

Your compost lives in a work of art! Beautiful 👍
« Last Edit: April 21, 2021, 05:17:21 pm by macgro7 »
Growing loads of fruits and vegetables! Raising dairy goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits on 1/2 acre in the middle of the city of Leicester, using permaculture methods.

edstrong

  • Joined Jun 2015
Re: Size of compost bin
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2021, 01:47:20 pm »
Now that will survive the zombie apocalypse! As a matter if interest, why did you build a roof over it?

Probably over-engineered but it should last a long time.

If you think that is over-engineered, we are just finishing our dream of having the full Charles Dowding:

GribinIsaf

  • Joined Aug 2015
  • Montgomeryshire
    • Gribin Isaf
Re: Size of compost bin
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2021, 03:23:09 pm »
As a matter if interest, why did you build a roof over it?

We get so much precipitation here that if it was all allowed to fall on the compost it would be too wet,  I know you can put covers on it but a roof makes it easier to access.  Plus - it has a big overhang at the back where the exterior back wall is used as a quick access sheltered tool rack. Plus - we will collect the water from the roof to use as irrigation.  Plus - inside under the roof will be a dry timber storage area. Plus - it provides a lot of bird nest opportunities.  And doubleplus - Charles Dowding has got a roof on his.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2021, 08:39:24 pm by GribinIsaf »

cloddopper

  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: Size of compost bin
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2021, 11:32:37 pm »
The old boy who guided me in my gardening when I was a yoof. advised against having a front on the bins as it 's a sod to keep clambering over it ( he was 83 ).  What he did do was cover each filled bin contents with old natural fiber carpets , jute sacking  or layers of weighted down carboard & newspapers to stop the pile drying out .Like you he had four bins , each abut 6 months behind the other so he always had a ready to use bin and a ready to fill bin .
 
 He also limed his fed bed about a month after nourishing it in early spring.  Bill had some of the best veg I've ever seen outside of square foot gardening using a soil free growth medium.
Strong belief , triggers the mind to find the way ... Dyslexia just makes it that bit more amusing & interesting

 

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