Building a robust pallet compost bin isn’t that difficult and can add to the sense of achievement as a keen gardener.
If you’ve ever used Lego then you’re in good shape to make the perfect compost bin for your allotment garden.
For best results build your pallet compost bin on level ground and directly onto the soil so that the earthworms have access to the material from the ground up to help with the decomposition process.
- X4 chemical free pallets of the same size
- spirit level
- corner brackets
- wood screws (for corner brackets)
- X4 hinges
- X2 cabin hooks
- screwdriver or drill driver
- Garden fork
Good to have but not necessary: pallet breaker, fence posts and a post hammer
Step 1: make sure the ground is level
If your ground is not level spend some time with a spade, garden rake, and spirit level until the ground is even.
This will save a lot of time and frustration later in the build process and lead to a longer-lasting pallet bin.
Step 2: Attach two pallets at right angles
On the level ground place two pallets at right angles to each other making sure the slats are facing inwards to help keep the compost secure.
Place one corner bracket on the inside corner about a foot from the top.
Secure into place with screws.
Place another bracket at the bottom about a foot from the ground and secure it with screws.
Place a spirit level on top to check the levels.
Step 3: Attach a third pallet to the side
Attach the third pallet at right angles to the side and secure with brackets as in step 2 above.
Step 4: Strenthen the pallet compost bin
If you have fence posts now would be a good time to feed them through the gaps of the pallets at the front.
Drive them into the ground using a post hammer.
If you don’t have fence posts then nail a piece of wood to the bottom at the front creating a small step.
This will ensure that the bottom does not start to bow when it is filled with organic material and compost.
To prevent the top from bowing, nail a piece of wood from the front top of one side of the pallet to the rear pallet at the centre.
Do the same for the other side and you should end up with a ‘V’ shape.
To strengthen the ‘V’ shape, create an ‘A’ shape by nailing a piece of wood across the two sides of the ‘V’ shape.
Step 5: use a fourth pallet for two front doors
I’ve used a slat system for the front of my pallet compost bins.
Installing two front doors is quicker, simpler and no less effective than using a slat system.
Make sure your pallet for the front door is the same width as the opening.
Cut the pallet in half then screw in two hinges per pallet, one for a lower door and one for an upper door.
Place the lower door above the step and secure the hinges to the side of the pallet structure.
Do the same with the upper door.
Use the cabin hooks screwed securely into place to keep the doors from opening when the bin is full.
Why all the fuss about making pallet compost bins?
They are sturdy and can contain vast amounts of compost in one easy-to-access location.
They’re also great for storing allotment gardening-associated regalia like bamboo, garden forks and spades.
On my plots, I use a combination of a dozen dalek composters and two large pallet compost bins that help to service 16 no-dig beds.
Even if you’re not using a no-dig approach, there’s no doubt that copious amounts of compost will improve your soil and plants.
But be warned, making good quality compost can turn into an obsession so don’t forget to actually use it and plant things into it.