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PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 10:39 am 
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Location: Grapevine, TX
I just started the organic program for my lawn this summer. I have several large oak trees and grapevines, and I decided to use the leaves, grapevine cuttings and grass clippings to start a compost bin. After looking at all the expensive prefab options, and considering building a bin out of pallets, I got an idea. I went to Lowes and bought a 10'x3'x 1/2" roll of welded wire mesh. I just unrolled it and made a 3'x3' circular bin out of the mesh.

This has worked GREAT. It takes about 5 minutes to put together and it's VERY easy to move around. There is plenty of ventilation, and it's easy to water the sides of the bin with a garden hose and sprayer.

After I filled up the first bin, I got a second roll and made another bin. I set it up next to the first one, and just move the stuff from one bin to the second when I want to turn the compost.

Now, I've filled up the second bin. I'm going to get another roll this weekend and make a third bin so I always have an empty one to use when I want to turn the full bins.

This is a cheap, easy solution for me and I've started taking out the kitchen scraps every day and burying them in the compost pile. Things are heating up nicely, with no smell, so I guess I got the brown/green ratio right on the first try.

This should yield about 2 cubic yards of compost by the end of winter. I'm starting to save all the extra leaves from my trees in trash bags so I can start a new pile when this one finishes.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 6:39 pm 
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I used to do something like this, and then I got dogs.

Dogs go under or over the wire mesh and bother the table scraps I throw in the compost, so I've had to change my style of compost altogether.

I now just dump the current year's clippings and weeds in a pile in the back of the back yard (it's a very long yard). I turn it occasionally, sometimes moving it's location a bit one direction or another. After the end of the gardening season I stop contributing to that compost pile and the next spring I start a new pile. The one where I get my compost for the year is the pile I built two years ago.

I put my table scraps into an 18-gallon bin with a tight lid (air circulates, just no critters). Every so often I set the active bin aside and start a new one. After the new one has been going for a while I go back to the first one, that is really really gooshy, and I dig a hole in the middle of the current compost and pour in the contents, then cover it over. I run the sprinkler on it for a while to give it time to sink into the compost and keep the dogs out. By this point this usually doesn't interest my dogs. Anyway, rotating the containers has worked pretty well to let me compost kitchen scraps and not inviting the dogs into the compost.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:26 am 
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Haven't had a dog-related issue yet. My dogs are apparently either too lazy or too dumb to figure out how to climb on top and dig into the compost pile. Also, I bury my scraps deep in the middle of the pile every time.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:34 am 
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All mine need to know is that there might be food in the compost, and they'll check it out. They're outside dogs, about 6 years old each, and finding food is a constant theme (they graze on grass and berries and acorns and bugs, and I subsidize their grazing with Muenster dog food).

:lol:

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 5:49 am 
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Location: Cedartown, GA
Love the idea of the mesh. I've been using chicken wire, which isn't really sturdy enough.

What did you use to connect the ends and close the circle?

I need to turn my bins next weekend, and would like to try one of these during that process.

I don't have dogs, but I do have groundhogs in the neighborhood that find the bins quite intriguing. I've managed to circumvent them by keeping a piece of chicken wire crimped lightly over the top of the compost in the bin, so they can't dig into it. So far, they haven't tried digging under the bins. I surprised one last summer in a newer bin where I'd tossed some tomato or other vines that I'd just pulled up. I now keep all the beds with anything fresh in them covered, not just the ones that have kitchen scraps!

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 10:50 am 
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I like to reuse things that are around the yard, so when I did the mesh enclosure, I had some long thin wand-like posts (a bit thicker than a pencil) that had originally been used by a previous owner to run an electric fence around the property. I pulled these out around the edge of the yard and tossed them in a corner of the garage.

Every so often something comes along as a good re-use for these, and since they have a pair of wings on the bottom for stability when pushed into the yard, I simply arranged the fence mesh in the position I wanted then wove this wand up through the holes from the bottom and then pushed the wand into the yard.

It's a large yard so there were a lot of these posts. I still use them out in the vegetable garden, intermittent between the metal fence posts that you use with chicken wire. Since my veggie garden is in the front yard I put up this fence of chicken wire around a couple of sides of my garden to keep animals from running through.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 11:08 am 
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Mskitty,

When I bought the rolls of mesh, they were tied up in a roll with a single strand of wirewrapped around it, about 10 ft long. I cut the wire into 6" strips and used them like bread ties, overlapping the ends of the mesh about 4". If your mesh doesn't come with wire wrapping, you can just use bread ties or any other wire you have laying around.

I didn't stake it to the ground, just made a cylinder and started throwing stuff in. When I turn it, I fork out about half the stuff and toss it into another cylinder, then i lift the mesh off of the old pile and fork the rest into the new one.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 11:16 am 
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Thanks! I've been using some 3-foot bamboo stakes I had around the place, weaving the ends of the chicken wire closed with those -- easy in, easy out -- but I know they won't work with the mesh. The wire makes perfect sense.

Kitty

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 11:46 am 
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I was translating your mesh for chicken wire, but I have also used a lot of the "welded mesh" (I think this is generally called "hardware cloth"). And if you have the 1/2 inch type, you could do some strategic bending and fitting and still use any number of long slim things lying around.

I made myself a sieve for the compost out of the hardware cloth and some spare pieces of 2x4 and cedar fur strips. Here is what it looks like in action; I made it large enough to prop over the top of my wheelbarrow, and I shovel in the compost, move the compost through the sieve, and any sticks or rocks get dumped back into the pile. (And back by the cyclone fence gate you can see two bright yellow insulators on one of those metal wands I mentioned using to weave through the chicken wire, once the insulators are off of it.)

Image

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:00 am 
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Yep, NWesterner, that's my winter project, build a screener like yours, in my nice, heated garage workshop...I figure I'll be done building it about the time my first batch of compost is ready!

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:36 pm 
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No need to dawdle all winter on this project - I think I put this together in about an hour. Spare
lumber, screws, the cloth, a heavy duty stapler, and there it is.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 6:04 pm 
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Here's one of my bins.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:05 am 
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How cheap do you want to go? In my city( Austin),they have bulk trash days about 3 times a year and people throw out all kinds of stuff,and chickenwire seems to be the one thing they allways throw away,also trah cans or barrels and lets not forget 2x4's and old wood.Instead compost making material,and free.Let's also not forget Craigslist under the FREE section,people are always throwing away chinken wire and wood;pallets,etc. :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:41 pm 
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Location: Burleson,Texas
I would probably get those compost piles away from the house. You will get critters inside.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 9:36 am 
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Leon,

I have one compost bin very similar to the one you have. Its in the back of my large backyard and the chickens LOVE to dig through it. My room mate and I have a really hard time turning it though so the project has become more of a way to just not produce the waste and no usable compost has resulted.

I was considering making a low to the ground bin out of 2X4s and hardware cloth so it would be easy to turn but you have made me think that just building another circular bin to transfer the pile back and forth might be a good (cheaper) option.

Do you still like this method?

What do you guys think?

-Kat from Austin


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