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Old 03-29-2011, 06:34 PM
 
1,282 posts, read 3,243,319 times
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Hello -- I've got seven old pallets that I was planning to use to build a 3-bin composting system, but I'm afraid I haven't got any further than that.

I envisioned fastening the pallets together with hinges and wrapping the outside with some kind of wire (chicken wire, i.e.) to prevent pests.

But what would I use for the floor of the compost bin?

Any other tips would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-29-2011, 07:09 PM
 
Location: Englewood, FL
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We purchased our composter for kitchen scraps. It's open on the bottom and just sits on the ground with big screws that go into the soil to hold it in place. It has a cover at the bottom that you open in order to shovel the compost out when you're ready.

Our next step is to make a 3-bin yard composter out of pallets, too, and we'll just leave it open at the bottom and build the sides.
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Old 03-29-2011, 07:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coastal chic View Post
We purchased our composter for kitchen scraps. It's open on the bottom and just sits on the ground with big screws that go into the soil to hold it in place. It has a cover at the bottom that you open in order to shovel the compost out when you're ready.

Our next step is to make a 3-bin yard composter out of pallets, too, and we'll just leave it open at the bottom and build the sides.
Thanks, I wondered if you could just leave the bottom open or whether a floor was mandatory. I've seen them done both ways.
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Old 03-29-2011, 07:46 PM
 
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Yes - better to leave on the ground - then you get earth worms that help make mulch - plus you are enriching the soil it sits on - I sometimes move my bins after a few years and grow stuff on the soil I moved it from
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Old 03-29-2011, 07:47 PM
 
Location: Englewood, FL
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I was told that by having an open bottom, the liquids will be absorbed into the soil and not be as attractive to the wildlife. I am paranoid about palmetto bugs and rats, but am hoping for the best.
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Old 03-30-2011, 06:04 AM
 
Location: Tampa Bay Area
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Bottom can be closed or open. Obviously open is easier. Worms and bugs are happy with either. The only liquid we put in is water. We live in FL and run an irrigation line to a 3 box composter I built. No lids. wire mesh sides. Also have 2 black plastic ones from Sams. The store bought composters are near impossible to periodically mix up. I have to drag it off the pile, move it and refill. A real pain. The palmetto bugs are in there but not visible unless I water it a lot. No rats, but if I had them I would put out bait. The trick seem sot me to have enough structure that you can control the height in the front, otherwise you can't easily mix it up. Hard to reach from the top with a hoe and accomplish much. Maybe a post hole digger with an auger!
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Old 03-30-2011, 07:39 AM
 
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Our pallets are screwed together. It sits on open ground. It doesn't have a "lid" but is covered with old pieces of carpet cut for each bin.

I would highly recommend leaving the bottom open so you have drainage and you don't have to mess with finding a base that won't break down and having to fasten it to the pallets. The carpet is convenient because you can pull it off and on easily and requires no hardware or assembly. It breathes and allows the rain to penetrate. The screws are nice because it makes the front easily removable when we are ready to use the compost. I do recommend having fronts because if you just use stalls the compost spills all over and is just a big mess. Contained is better for you and better for the process.
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Old 03-30-2011, 08:20 AM
 
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Thanks all for the excellent feedback. I'm particularly worried about rats, as I've heard some bad stories in the area.

Even if not using meat scraps etc. in compost, I worry that it will attract rats. Is this concern founded, or not really?

Thanks again.
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Old 03-30-2011, 09:18 AM
 
1,282 posts, read 3,243,319 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Innertuber View Post
The trick seem sot me to have enough structure that you can control the height in the front, otherwise you can't easily mix it up. Hard to reach from the top with a hoe and accomplish much. Maybe a post hole digger with an auger!
Yeah, I was wondering about the front too . . . in a 3-bin system, is it best to leave the front exposed, or to have some kind of door?
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Old 03-30-2011, 09:55 AM
 
Location: NC, USA
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Dang, yall are a bit more elaborate than I am, I just use a pile off to the side of my garden, in summer, when I am mowing the yard, the pile gets over three feet tall, then slowly shrinks as it does its' job.
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