Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pallet Compost Bins

When 'blog-hopping' awhile back, I came across a post on a blog that immediately struck my interest . . . in fact, so much so that I bookmarked the post so that I could be sure to find it later. The post was called "Composting with Wooden Pallets", and it was found on one of my now favorite blogs to visit. After seeing this post, I began thinking of how I could acquire the necessary seven pallets to build a compost bin. The result of that was calling numerous businesses around town to see what they did with their pallets once they were finished with them . . . and to see if I might be able to get some from them.

The first several places I called either didn't answer the phone or shared with me that they sell back all of their pallets to their distributors. So . . . I was starting to run out of ideas of places to call when Leah suggested a local hardware business. I called them, and while they don't normally give away but a few pallets to a person (they, too, sell their pallets back to their distributors), they said they would give me the seven I needed! What a blessing!

The next morning then, Daddy and I headed out in our truck together and picked up the pallets. I was looking forward to working on this project, but rainy days prevented me from doing so until yesterday. Even though it was overcast and windy, the rain had come to an end (at least for the time being) so I headed outdoors to work on building the compost bin. First, all of the necessary "equipment" needed to be gathered . . . four t-posts, t-post driver, wire, wire cutters, square, level, tape measure, and lastly . . . the pallets. It took a couple of hours for me to get it all put together and level, and I was excited when it came time to attach the last pallet and see what the finished result looked like . . .

I love how it turned out, and am excited to have three large bins for composting! (And you can see in the photo that the sun finally peeked out in the evening!) One bin will be for the 'stuff' hauled out of the chicken coop as it needs to sit and compost for a year before going in the garden . . . in fact, two bins might be used for that (plus we'll add in some other things as well.) Then the third bin will be for all of our vegetable scraps, garden plants, leaves, lawn clippings, and whatever else can go in there.

Assembling the compost bin was a fun experience, though it was tiring . . . especially driving in the t-posts as far as they needed to go. I think I hit roots a couple of times! To put it together and to make it solid, each front end of the pallets that form the dividers have a t-post driven into the ground that the pallet is then wired to (which can be seen in the below photo.) Then at the back, all of the divider pallets and the back pallets are wired together as well to hold them in place.

And now with it all assembled, I need to move our two existing compost piles into the new compost bins and start using them! :)


  1. What a great idea! We have been thinking of starting a compost pile here. It's too bad I didn't know about this before. Our other house used to be just down the road from a warehouse that had huge piles of these pallets, and I'm sure they would have been glad to let us have some of them. I always looked at them and wondered what we could do with I know! :)

  2. Oh, Sarah, this is so interesting! What a wonderful job you did!! I can just imagine how much work it must have been to dig those holes. This is a wonderful idea and I just know your family will be blessed by it for many years to come.

    Goodness, you have chicks in your dining room, new seedlings ready to plant, wonderful new composting bins to use, cute little calves rampaging through your chicken coop and soon a big buzzing box of bees on your doorstep! Things are really hopping on your little farm!

  3. We compost everything too, Sarah. Pallets are used here for so many things, and they are given away too!

  4. Sarah...beautiful illustration of creativity, thriftiness, diligence and follow-through...not to mention, you did a wonderful job of building these compost bins. You are to be commended for your hard work!

    I did not know, however, that it was necessary for "chicken scat" to sit for a year before going into the garden. I have known people who have shoveled it directly into their gardens in the spring. I also had a neighbor years ago who would come and "collect" horse manure from another neighbor (who owned a horse) and work it in well into his garden each spring. He grew the tastiest, healthiest-looking tomatoes I ever saw!

    We've chosen a sort of "half-way" approach to composting. In the late Fall, we begin hoarding our vegetable peelings, egg shells, coffee grounds, etc., and keep them in closed containers in the garage. Once the garden is pretty much done producing for the year, we put several layers of newspaper over it all, wet it down thoroughly, then layer our compost with alternate layers of grass clippings, dead leaves, spent blooms, dead stalks, etc., in a "lasagna" style. This sits all through the winter and breaks down, and in the spring, when we turn over the soil, it is beautifully rich and FULL of earthworms! Rich soil in clay-based Michigan is a wondrous sight to behold!:-)

    ~ Betsy

  5. That's neat that you have compost bins. We have had ours for about a year now, and it's actually starting to look like dirt :)

    Blessings, sweet friend!
    Bethany Joy

  6. Dear Sarah,

    What a wonderful job you and your daddy did on your compost bins!

    They look great!

    It will been a great blessing once your matter begins to compost and you have rich, organic compost soil.


  7. Isn’t it, though?! I had never thought of something like this before, Joy, and I am really liking them so far. Well now if you ever come across pallets again, you will know at least one use for them! :)

  8. Thank you for your kind comment, Miss Linda! It was a bit of work building this, but it was fun to do, and the end result was definitely worth it!

    Your second paragraph made me smile . . . we do have a lot happening around here right now, and I am loving it all! :)

  9. Thank you for your comment, Elizabeth! That’s nice that pallets are given away there, too . . . as you shared, there are so many ways to use them!

  10. Thank you for your sweet comment, Betsy! :)

    For most manures (other than rabbit), it is recommended that they be composted some before adding to your garden as they can burn the plants otherwise. And as what we haul out of the chicken coop also has pine shavings in it, those need to decompose for about a year to break them down as they can alter the pH of the soil and also tie up nitrogen as they decompose. So that’s why we need to let it sit for that time!

    The method that you all are doing with composting in the late Fall is a wonderful one! And it sounds like it works well. :) Don’t you just love seeing what all of this ‘waste’ turns into? Rich beautiful compost . . . which as you shared is a much desired product for clay-soils, and we have a lot of good-ole Missouri clay which is one of the reasons we are working so much to try to improve the soil!

  11. It is, Bethany! Isn’t it fun to see all the things thrown into the compost bin turning into rich, beautiful compost? I am sure what you all have composted will be such a help in your garden!

  12. Thank you, Amanda, for stopping by and for your kind comment! Yes, it will be a great blessing once all of this composts, and we can add it to the garden . . . I always look forward to when that time comes! :)

  13. Oh how lovely! When and if we buy a house with some land I will have to do this! Right now I have a compost bin that I'm able to use. I'm thankful for that. :o) I am thinking about getting worms for mine. Have you thought about that?


Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)